In a whitepaper released in December, "Prevent Social Spam and Fraud from Sabotaging Your Brand," Impermium and TeleSign describe the many types of social threats, including:
-- Account hijacking. Spammers hijack users' personal accounts by stealing social login information.
-- Registration fraud. Fake accounts are registered, often in huge numbers, by bots.
[ Even Twitter can be risky. Read Twitter Direct Messages Disguise Trojan App Attack. ]
-- Malware spam. Social spam often exists in embedded links attached to photos and other content, often lurking in personalized messages that make it seem like the content is coming from a friend or follower.
-- Comment spam. Spammers use the sharing features on social sites to share messages, often including links to malicious content.
-- Life jacking. Spammers entice users to click on images that appear as though the users' friends clicked the Like buttons associated with the images, thereby recommending them.
-- Malware placement. Hackers create false profiles and then friend people from the profiles. Once a hacker's new friend clicks on a questionable link, spam can be propagated to other friends in that user's network.
-- Third-party apps. Malware can be embedded in third-party apps that, when installed, give hackers control of users' computers.
Impermium estimates that spammers comprise as much as 40% of all social media accounts, and up to 8% of social media messages sent -- about twice the volume seen six months ago.