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Hoax Facebook apps on the increase

Security firm warns users to stay vigilant

Facebook users are being urged to be wary of third-party apps after it was revealed hackers have launched another hoax program designed to steal social networker's login details.

Sophos says that the 'F a c e b o o k - closing down!!!' app sends bogus emails to users' contacts, claiming they've been reported "for violating our Terms of Service". The message continues: "This is your official warning! - Click here to find out why you were reported!".

However, any web user clicking the link will give hackers access to their profile and personal information. Clicking the link also forwards the fake message each user's friends.

"Fans of Facebook will no doubt be aware that the site has been under scrutiny over its terms of service, and these latest attacks are designed to take full advantage of that," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.

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The warning comes just days after it was reported that a number of users of the social network were downloading the 'Error Check System' program that sent messages to a user's friends claiming they had problems viewing their profile.

"One of the problems is that Facebook allows anybody to write an application, and third-party applications are not vetted before they are made available to the public. So, even as Facebook stamps out one malicious application, another can pop up like a poisoned mushroom with a different name."

Facebook has since removed the application, but there are reports that similar rogue applications with names such as 'My account' and 'Reported For Rule Breaking' are currently circulating on the popular social networking site.

See also: Facebook listens to user feedback on policy


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