Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Free App Protects Facebook Accounts From Hackers

UCR News (CA) (06/20/11) Sean Nealon

University of California, Riverside (UCR) researchers have developed MyPageKeeper.org, a free Facebook application that detects spam and malware posted on users' walls and news feeds. MyPageKeeper was developed in response to a recent surge of malicious activity on Facebook. The application works by continuously scanning wall posts, news feeds, and links posted by friends of participating users. As soon as malware, spam, or other undesirable material is detected, MyPageKeeper notifies the user and enables them to remove the malicious content from their profile. MyPageKeeper was developed by UCR students Md Sazzadur Rahman and Ting-Kai Huang, as well as UCR professors Michalis Faloutsos and Harsha Madhyastha. Rahman says that Facebook "provides a fertile ground to spread malware, since users trust links and posts that are seemingly from their friends. Hackers have realized this, and they have started using it to distribute malware and conduct identity theft." Faloutsos says that Web security is following the same trajectory as desktop security as more activities move to the Internet. "People are educated about email spam," Faloutsos says. "But, now there is an implicit trust, almost validation, when someone sees a post from a friend on Facebook."