Don’t Friend the Ramnit Worm

January 9th, 2012

Hackers are now seeking new targets, moving from e-mail to social networking sites. In January 2012, experts at online security firm, Seculert, uncovered a powerful hybrid worm/virus that was burrowing through Facebook’s social media platform and stole over 45,000 login credentials from users, mostly in France and the U.K.  The Ramnit worm, which had been on the radar since  spring, 2010, typically spread through Windows executable files (.dll, .scr, and .exe), as well as some HTML and Microsoft Office documents “stealing sensitive information such as stored FTP credentials and browser cookies,” according to Microsoft.  By stealing logins and passwords, the malware was used to spread malicious links to friends in order to further its proliferation.

This kind of malware can have far-reaching effects, too.  Since many of us are guilty of reusing passwords, identifying a user’s Facebook password could lead to a potential gold mine of sensitive information.   Social media is the new frontier when it comes to malware. As Seculert puts it:

Sophisticated hackers are now experimenting with replacing the old-school email worms with more up-to-date social network worms. As demonstrated by the 45,000 compromised Facebook subscribers, the viral power of social networks can be manipulated to cause considerable damage to individuals and institutions when it is in the wrong hands.

Read more about securing your computer from malware here.

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Short for “malicious software”; includes viruses and spyware that steal personal information, send spam, and commit fraud. (See Badware.)

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