Facebook has announced that its internal computer network has been hacked in what it described as a “sophisticated attack. According to Facebook, users of Facebook did not have their data compromised – this time. As I have warned you over and over again, your security is only as good as the security of the weakest place that holds information about you, which is why it is important to limit the information held by companies and others with which you do business to the minimum that they need. The hacking of Facebook occurred when a Facebook employee went to the website of an app developer with which Facebook does business. The app developer had unwittingly been hacked through the use of the Java program and when the Facebook employee went to the website of the app developer, the computer virus was passed on to Facebook. This might be particularly disturbing to some people because Facebook uses, and was using at the time of its security breach, the latest security software programs, which did not protect Facebook from the hacking. As I have told you previously, unfortunately, the makers of computer security software are always behind the hackers. It has been estimated that when a new virus is developed only about 5% of security software programs are effective at first. Generally, the computer security software companies take about a month to catch up with the new viruses.
There are a few lessons for us all from this security breach. According to the computer security company, Kaspersky Lab, Java is a dangerous program constantly exploited by hackers. According to Kaspersky, Java software was the culprit in about half of all cyber attacks in 2012. On January 12, 2013 I passed on a warning from the Department of Homeland Security warning people to disable Java due to serious security threats. Five days later on January 17th I provided you with a link to remedy for that particularly vulnerability. However, problems with Java continue to occur and some computer security experts suggest that you disable Java and not use it in order to protect yourself. I will discuss this in more detail in future Scams of the Day. The particular problem with Java that led to the hacking of Facebook has been fixed, but it is likely that Java will be attacked again. Another tip that you must follow is to make sure that your computer security software is constantly updated. I will provide you with particular warnings and updates, but you should make sure that your security software is always current. People who do not do so are easy targets for identity thieves.