August 11, 2012 - 14:27 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Facebook has issued a call to its almost 1 billion worldwide users to help the social network combat cyber-attackers seeking to steal usernames and passwords, Digital Spy said.
Mark Zuckerberg's company, recently listed as 'FB' on the American NASDAQ stock exchange, wants to stamp out 'phishing' attacks, in which hackers try to fool users into handing over their login, or even financial information such as bank details.
On Facebook, this often involves the sending of fake messages or emails made to appear as though they are officially from Facebook, encouraging users to hand over their details to malicious sites posing as legitimate ones.
In a post on its security page, Facebook announced the launch of a new firstname.lastname@example.org email address, where its 955 million users can report phishing attempts against Facebook.
The new email reporting channel will work alongside the internal systems Facebook has put into place to detect potential phishing sites attempting to steal personal data.
Using this combination of measures, Facebook hopes to gather information to take phishing sites offline, as well as notify affected users.
Facebook's Anti-Phishing Working Group has also put together a series of tips on how to spot potential phishing attacks.
This includes being suspicious of any email with "urgent requests" for login or financial information, or any messages that are not digitally signed, meaning they are most likely 'spoofed'.
Users can also contact www.facebook.com/hacked if they think that their account has been compromised.
But Facebook knows that it will have to fight a constant battle against phishing, as sites rarely stay up longer than a few days and new ones spring up as soon as others are shut down.
According to a recent report by Anti-Phishing Working Group, there were more than 56,000 unique phishing sites as of February 2012, showing the sheer scale of the problem.
Microsoft has estimated that nearly half of clicked-on phishing attempts occur around social networks such as Facebook, largely because they contain such a concentration of users and personal data.
Earlier in the month, Facebook also admitted that up to 83 million profiles on the social network could be "fake".
Around 1.5% of this total were put in a category labelled "undesirable" - profiles that have been deemed to be in breach of Facebook's terms of service, such as spammers.