Home > AVG researchers identify "Political Hacktivism" as new social network application threat

AVG researchers identify "Political Hacktivism" as new social network application threat

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AVG (AU/NZ)  has announced that researchers at AVG Technologies have discovered a new threat to Facebook: “Political Hacktivism”, or the non-violent use of illegal or legally ambiguous digital tools in pursuit of political ends.

The threats seem to take two forms, which AVG researchers note probably indicates there are two individuals or groups involved, and it appears they are Turkish hackers. These tools include:

  • web site defacements
  • redirects
  • denial-of-service attacks
  • information theft
  • web site parodies
  • virtual sit-ins
  • virtual sabotage; and
  • software development.
“The number of hacked accounts is fairly small, so far less than fifty, which would indicate that it is not an automated attack, but the number is still increasing, albeit slowly,” said Roger Thompson, AVG Chief Research Officer.

“This is the first time, as far as I am aware, that Facebook has been a victim of political hacktivism.

“Given that the attack seems to be being run by Turkish hackers, and that Turkish hackers had once claimed a world record for defacing 37,000 pages in a single day, we should not discount the thought that they might find an automated way to move, and we should be extra vigilant with what we click. Think before you link,” says Thompson. 

This hacktivism on Facebook is another in a continuing string of malicious attacks to the popular social networking site.

AVG recognises the power that social networking brings to professional and personal lives and does not advocate giving up on the technology altogether. However, they do have some recommendations on how ensure internet security and how to best be protected:

  • practice safe surfing - AVG LinkScanner is a free web tool that can identify web based threats in real-time and notify if a page or link is poisoned when the web browser tries to load the web page. 
  • if a prompt to install a viewer to watch a video pops up something is probably not right. Go to the video player application’s official website and download the application there. Never download through a link.
  • make sure anti-virus and security software is up to date. AVG have an Anti-Virus Free Edition available for download.
“Remember that any information available about you online is potentially there forever,” says Lloyd Borrett, Marketing Manager of AVG (AU/NZ).

“Friends and family you trust, but also friends of friends who you may not trust, plus current and future employers, and the bad guys can all easily access your information if you don’t appropriately change the privacy settings on social networking sites and be discerning about who you accept as your ‘friend’. You can check what information about you is publicly available online by typing your own name into a search engine," concludes Borrett.

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