Monday, August 23, 2010

IT Security - Facebook

Given the popularity of Facebook (as noted in a previous week in review as the most visited "non-search engine" site from the JCU campus network), ITR would like to remind the University community of the potential and current use of Facebook for identity theft, scams and distribution of malware.

Facebook scams are not uncommon, and many make use of the exploit technique known as "Clickjacking". Clickjacking is where users are tricked into performing actions without their explicit knowledge or approval. Examples of the results of this in Facebook are allowing external parties access to your personal information without your knowledge, or the spreading of bogus links through its sharing feature.

Current Facebook scams such as "Dislike Button", which trick users into giving permission to a rogue Facebook application, can be easily noticed by appropriately cautious users. See the PCWorld article How to Spot Facebook Scams Like 'Dislike' for more information.

Many up-to-date antivirus/endpoint security software solutions do provide some measure of protection by detecting and blocking the malicious scripts which are embedded in the content of these Scams. However, they are likely unable to discern between the intended and unintended use of the Facebook features themselves.

As usual prevention is better than cure. As these scams require user initiated actions, awareness and self-discipline give the best chance to prevent yourself from becoming victim.

Never naively click on links. Most popular web browsers - eg Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer - and email clients - eg Outlook and Thunderbird - will display the full address of a link the on the bottom bar of the window. Where possible, you should try to verify that the link is legitimate or for a known website before clicking on it.

ITR recommend Facebook users in the university community read and follow the recommendations contained in the Sophos Facebook security best practises guide.

JCU's site license arrangement with Sophos allows current staff and students to use updated antivirus software and virus signature files - known as IDEs - on-campus, at home and in the colleges.

Staff who aren't sure if their computer is operating under the MOE and has Sophos installed should log an IT Support Request. One of your IT Support Staff will check and advise you about your software update and anti-virus coverage.

Contact the IT Helpdesk Internal 5500 Outside 4781 5500 International +61 7 47815500 to report ICT service problems.

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