Attackers use the popular social media sites to distribute malware because users trust messages they think are coming from friends. The Symantec report estimates that nearly 17% of all links posted to Facebook actually connect to malicious software. In addition, 65% of links that have used URL-shorteners were malicious—and 75% of those bad links were clicked on at least 11 times.
Mobile devices are not yet being targeted as often, but that could change soon as smartphones turn into electronic wallets with the use of near-field communications. This could prove a particularly troubling trend on college campuses as schools look for ways to make payment methods easier for students.
“The biggest issue right now is the false sentiment of security people have when using social networks or when installing smartphone apps,” says Catalin Cosoi, head of BitDefender’s Online Threat Labs, in an article for TechNewsWorld. “Since these services or devices are represented by known international institutions, they believe that they are safe.”