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20-Percent of Facebook Users Vulnerable to Malware, Study Finds

facebook malwareWe've all seen our fair share of Facebook-based viruses, but a newly released study from security software manufacturer BitDefender reminds us just how vulnerable we are when using the social network.

According to the study, 20-percent of all Facebook users are exposed to malware as they troll through their friends' news feeds. The report defines "malware" as any post that, when clicked, results in "the user's account being hijacked and in malware being automatically posted on the walls of the respective user's friends." The majority of the attacks (60-percent) come from malicious third-party Facebook applications. Of those, 21.5-percent are so-called "attack apps," which often claim to offer some sort of feature that Facebook prohibits, like seeing who's defriended you. Over 15-percent offer extras for Facebook games like 'FarmVille,' while 16-percent of Facebook malware lures users with shocking video clips, according to the report.

As CNET explains, it's not just news feeds that are vulnerable to attack, but private messages, as well. And, unfortunately, the outlook may actually be more grim than the report suggests. BitDefender compiled the statistics using data from a Facebook app called Safego, which warns users whenever they might be vulnerable to malware. But only 14,000 people actively use the app, and those users are probably more security-conscious than the rest of Facebook's 500 million users, quickly determining whether or not a Page or profile belongs to a scammer. The percentage of vulnerable users, then, may actually be even higher -- all the more reason to be extra vigilant when you're doing your online stalking.

Tags: app, bitdefender, danger, facebook, FarmVille, malware, newsfeed, security, SocialNetworking, top, virus