Barracuda Labs’ most recent study, Facebook: Fake Profiles vs. Real Users. The study analyzes a random sampling of 2,884 active Facebook accounts to identify key differences between average real user accounts and fake accounts created by attackers and spammers. The results of the study are being presented today at the 2012 Kaspersky Threatpost Security Analyst Summit in Cancun, Mexico.
Facebook, which filed for IPO this week, has become an important part of personal and business communication. The company consistently fights to keep attackers out of its network, most recently announcing its lawsuit against a marketing firm accused of “spreading spam through misleading and deceptive tactics“.
The Barracuda Labs study provides yet another example of this “arms race” as an increasing number of attackers move to social networks to carry out their wares.
Highlighted findings from the Barracuda Labs study include:
- Almost 60 percent of fake accounts claim to be bisexual, 10 times more than real users
- Fake accounts have six times more friends than real users, 726 versus 130
- Fake accounts use photo tags over 100 times more than real users, 136 tags per four photos versus one tag per four photos
- Fake accounts almost always (97 percent) claim to be female, as opposed to 40 percent for real users
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The study illustrates how attacks on Facebook are structured to exploit the “friendship” concept and trust of widely-used applications.