Symantec finds 15% of Facebook videos are likejacking attacks

Symantec finds 15% of Facebook videos are likejacking attacks

Summary: Symantec has found that approximately three out of every 20 videos on Facebook are fake: they are just likejacking scams.

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Facebook scams have always been a problem on the social network, and just like email spam, no matter what improvements the company makes, scammers and spammers always find a new way to cause problems. Now, we can finally gauge how big of an issue this really is: security company Symantec recently set out to analyze likejacking attacks on Facebook.

Using a sample of 3.5 million posts with videos on August 2, Symantec found that up to 15 percent of unique posts were identified as likejacking attacks. Of course this number is skewed because most posts on Facebook aren't videos, but it still gives a general idea of what Palo Alto needs to do in order to compete with YouTube.

For those who don't know, likejacking is a play on the term clickjacking, which means asking a victim to click something while a different action is taken behind the scenes. Likejacking specifically refers to a victim clicking on something only to have some piece of content Liked, without their knowledge, in the background. This typically occurs with a fake video player window overlayed with a hidden iframe; actually clicking on it anywhere submits a Like, promoting the scam in question to your Facebook friends.

Likejacking can be embarrassing because of the content posted to your Wall. It can also be annoying because of how quickly a given scam can go viral. Worst of all though, they can be used by scammers to infect PCs with malware or steal online account information.

Symantec of course did this quick analysis in order to promote its own product. Norton Safe Web is a free Facebook app that scans News Feeds and identifies URLs containing security risks, such as phishing sites, malicious downloads, and links to unsafe external sites. To protect against likejacking, detections are displayed as part of the scan report and posted to the user's Wall so their friends are warned against clicking on the link.

I'd like to see Symantec analyze a month's worth of Facebook posts, which are not limited to just videos. The number would of course be much lower than 15 percent, but I think a breakdown of what type of spam and scams are proliferating on the social network would be useful information.

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Topics: Social Enterprise, Security

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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7 comments
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  • RE: Symantec finds 15% of Facebook videos are likejacking attacks

    Of course, I've discovered that regularly patrolling my own wall makes a big difference... removing posts that I really don't want there. Most of those are annoying Farmville posts, but hey... you play, you pay, right?
    ebarrow
    • RE: Symantec finds 15% of Facebook videos are likejacking attacks

      @ebarrow

      Agreed. Not to mention not blindly clicking on any unknown links that someone posts on the wall -- a simple search of the listed URL will let you know if it's legit or not, or if there's something iffy involved.

      And of course, there's the whole concept of why should any random stranger know that I "like" a particular website or video? I have my "friends" primarily limited to family members, relatives, & a few friends, most of whom I'm able to reach easily by email. If I want to send a link to them, I'll send it via email... & if I'm going to recommend a service to them, I'll recommend it in person or over the phone.
      spdragoo@...
      • RE: Symantec finds 15% of Facebook videos are likejacking attacks

        @spdragoo@... So according to you, the concept of Facebook is... not using it at all? Why do you even have it?<br><br>So sick of those that keep wining about how useless Facebook is... I mean, your television is as useless, but it won't go away if I start to complain to you about having one.
        belli_bettens@...
  • RE: Symantec finds 15% of Facebook videos are likejacking attacks

    Lol...and the Company who couldn't find a virus in a Petri dish discovered this?
    malcolm@...
    • RE: Symantec finds 15% of Facebook videos are likejacking attacks

      @malcolm@...

      Why would you find a virus in a petri dish? Aren't those primarily used for bacteria and fungi?
      zoredache
    • RE: Symantec finds 15% of Facebook videos are likejacking attacks

      @malcolm@... Citation needed.
      Though I don't use any of them, Symantec totes some anti-malware products that are pretty highly-rated (by 3rd party security companies, not just end users). Personally, I prefer MSE for its low impact and effectiveness (and also its being free, of course).
      SenorAlejandro
  • RE: Symantec finds 15% of Facebook videos are likejacking attacks

    I work in the internet security industry and I find that a lot of the infections are coming from PC's that do not have the proper protection. That number could easily be 5% or lower if people renewed or had proper protection. Here is where you can find some great reviews on the <a href="http://www.bestantivirus2012.com" target="_blank">best antivirus 2012</a>
    reviewsgirl