Tech-savvy firms are seeing their social media sites  ruthlessly stung by sophisticated attacks from cunning cyber criminals – in an illegal online industry now worth billions.
That’s the worrying web warning from one security expert after figures revealed cyber criminals are increasingly targeting companies utilising the likes of facebook, Twitter and Linked-In. Dave Ewart, director at Blue Coat, a firm specialising in corporate web security that count nearly 90 percent of the world’s Fortune 500 companies among their clients, said the methods used by cyber criminals are becoming “very clever.”
“These threats really are sophisticated. We’ve seen cyber criminals ‘recommending’ something you think is from a friend (on facebook) – they really like that,” Ewart told 7DAYS while on a visit to Dubai.
“Facebook is a phenomenon – companies use it, individuals love it… and so do cyber criminals. They are after money. They are unscrupulous. In the corporate world they are trying to trick you to steal company data or banking codes and banking transactions.” A recent survey conducted by Blue Coat revealed nearly one in four of the massive 3.3 million malware attacks carried out online each day are now conducted on social networking sites.
“It’s big business, it’s organised criminal activity,” said Ewart. “The web security industry spouts that it’s worth more globally than the drug trade. I’m not too convinced it’s quite as high, but it’s not a kick in the shins. It’s worth billions.”
Cyber criminals are targeting employees who conduct business transactions on smartphones on unsecure mobile networks outside the office. Ewart said: “The damage can catastrophically interfere with a company’s computer network.
“The cost of fixing it can be astronomical – it can run from the tens of thousands to the hundreds of thousands,” he added, saying that the prospect of a firm being so badly hit by cyber criminals it goes bankrupt “could happen”. The key, he says, is prevention rather than cure.
“It’s about policy and security. It’s allowing the marketing chief access to upload updates onto facebook but not allowing finance to post financial data on it,” said Ewart, adding software now exists for firms that can prohibit employees mentioning certain keywords online that refer to projects the company wishes to keep secret.