March 8, 2011, 11:20 AM

Retailers beware: Facebook updates can be a vehicle for spam and malware

A Websense study shows the concerns of I.T. professionals about social media safety.

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40% of Facebook status updates contain links, and 10% of those links contain spam or malware, says Websense Inc., a web security firm. The potential threat underscores the need for retailers, which are increasingly using Facebook to market and sell their products, to employ technology to stop social media viruses and other threats without limiting access to social networks, Websense says.

The company also found that at least 45% of security professionals restrict access to such social networking sites as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn because of concerns about security threats. Websense based the finding on a survey of 275 security professionals from various organizations.  

Some 40% of respondents say their organizations restrict access to social networks because of worries that employees will waste time on such sites, or take up too much bandwidth. Another 30% restrict access because they worry about corporate data being leaked via social media.

Webense also found that 70% of computer security threats are planted on popular and legitimate web sites, and that 52% of malware is designed to steal confidential corporate data.

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