This week’s hot topics: Mobile Malware up 2,180%, Facebook privacy concerns and Sophos’ false-positive malware havoc

Facebook experiences a week of multiple privacy concerns.

Not only has this set off alarm bells in medium businesses, It is a huge cause for concern. Although Facebook experiences a host of privacy concerns on a weekly basis, this latest breach indicates that it is important for businesses to look after their archive even more so.

If that wasn’t enough, Facebook Gifts, launched last Thursday, might encourage users to expose information like their home addresses, birth date, and clothing or shoe size that could pose security and privacy risks.

This Facebook Gifts came as a result of May’s acquisition of mobile e-commerce app Karma and allows users to send physical gifts to their friends. Sounds of rather nifty doesn’t it?

"The amount of private data users are sharing on social networking sites already exceeds all security precautions," said Bogdan Botezatu, a senior e-threat analyst at antivirus vendor Bitdefender. He is one of many that is concerned about more potential security breaches.

Added to that the increased fears about ad tracking, Facebook has had quite a week. This should be a reminder to medium businesses about the threats about using the social media site. 

Facing greater pressure to generate ad revenue, Facebook has tapped data miner Datalogix to track whether users who see product ads on the site end up buying them in stores. Dubbing Datalogix “controversial”, the Financial Times writes: “Facebook is gradually wading into new techniques for tracking and using data about users that raise concerns among privacy advocates.”

Quite a week. Two privacy concerns – it’s complicated.

With research finding a Malware increase of 2,180% in 2012 

We do love our phones, don’t we? Well perhaps after this latest finding, we will slightly more scared of them. The rise of mobile malware is becoming an industry meme. No surprise really considering the incredible increase and impact it is having on consumer and business lives.

With such increases, it would be obvious that malware vectors would be increasing too. "With the increasing popularity of smartphones, mobile threats are on the rise,” said Michela Menting, senior cyber security analyst at ABI. “This has implications for security at the corporate level, as well as for individual privacy."

Everyone’s guilty of playing games, listening to music, social networking and using apps and financial tools and they are becoming so common on mobile platforms, that it is opening the door to data loss, theft, spam, Trojans, spyware, data breaches and aggressive advertising. In fact, between Q1 2011 and Q2 2012, ABI Research found that unique malware variants grew by a staggering 2,180%, reaching 17,439 total strains.

ABI’s vendor-neutral look at the market dovetails with security-firm data when it comes to exponential growth in malware. Analysts at G Data SecurityLabs for instance say that the anti-virus industry developed 1,381,967 new virus signatures to detect and block all (mobile and otherwise) malware in the first half of this year. However, they also said that they think the growth of malicious programs will completely stabilize soon, with the industry seeing the aforementioned 2.5 to 3 million new threats every year from now on.

Nevertheless, as user awareness does get better, malware quality will triumph over quantity. “It has to, because people are understanding the online dangers better and are getting more cautious every day,” said Eddy Willems, security evangelist at G Data. “In order to be successful as a malware writer, more time and thought needs to be put into creating even more deceitful and convincing schemes. And we, as part of the AV industry, have our work cut out for us.”

Facebook and Mobiles have been through a lot this week with privacy concerns. Surely there’s not another thing we love that can get affected, surely?

Antivirus software provider Sophos’ false-positive malware havoc continues globally

Can you believe it? IT departments should be running scared. When antivirus software starts attacking itself, you know you are in trouble. Sophos’ antivirus solution began marking its own updates as false-positive malware, which deleted critical file sin the system’s live protection programme. Not clever as all.

Many enterprise and business computers were hit by the bug, creating reports to administrators reporting the program as SSH/Updater-B malware. The Register reported that administrators were bombarded with emails and alerts about the non-existent problem, which has since been fixed. 

This problem left systems unable to update because the updating functionality itself was put under strict quarantine. Thankfully, Sophos apologized in a blog post and pointed to a knowledge base article, which included steps to help mitigate the non-existent 'outbreak’.

Further help can be found, but generally IT professionals will need to manage this progress and be careful with any antivirus software they are installing.  

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