Hackers attempting to crack 600,000 Facebook accounts every day

Criminals trying to spread frauds, steal information and sell counterfeit goods
Teenagers attempting to access rivals’ accounts to post malicious messages and photos

By Daniel Miller
Last updated at 3:10 PM on 29th October 2011

Computer hackers attempt to break into at least 600,000 Facebook accounts using stolen username and password details every day, the social networking giant has revealed.

The online criminals attempt to crack the accounts so they can steal user information, spread frauds or send bogus offers and messages trying to sell counterfeit goods to members’ friends.

Facebook has an estimated 800 million users and receives over a billion login attempts every day. Half the British population now have a Facebook account.

While the hacking attempts could be viewed as only a tiny proportion experts fear the problem is growing.

Earlier this year hackers successfully broke into Sony’s Playstation Network stealing users information including names, addresses and passwords.

The latest revelation came after Facebook issued a security announcement promoting its new ‘Trusted Friends’ password restoration technique.

Many of the hackers are caught out by additional authentication questions, such as asking users to identify friends in pictures, but many attempts are successful.

Company spokesman Barry Schnitt admitted: ‘600,000 times a day, we stop a bad guy from getting access to an account even though he has guessed, phished, or stolen the login and password of an account.

‘This is something we’re very proud of.’

Another area of concern is the growing problem of cyber-bullying where children and teenagers break into each others accounts and post malicious messages or photographs on their Facebook pages.

Graham Cluey, a senior technology consultant at UK online security firm Sophos said hackers’ lives were being made easier because around 30 per cent of people use the same passwords for all of their internet accounts.

He told the Daily Telegraph: ‘When a hacker takes over a user’s Facebook account, they can post images, send messages and access all of that person’s private information in one fell swoop.

‘Facebook has a lot of security issues which it is now trying to address.’

The company ‘Trusted Friends’ system is one such attempt to clamp down on the problem.

It will allow a user to nominate between three and five people to be sent login codes if a hacker breaks into their account and changes their password details.

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