Study: Facebook joins PayPal, eBay as popular phishing target

Facebook targeted by phishers more than Google, IRS, and Bank of America, Kaspersky Lab study finds.

Elinor Mills Former Staff Writer
Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service and the Associated Press.
Elinor Mills
This pie chart shows that more than half of phishing attacks masquerade as PayPal links, followed by eBay, HSBC, and Facebook, according to a new report from Kaspersky Lab. Kaspersky Lab

Facebook has joined the ranks of the most popular sites targeted by phishers, according to a study released Wednesday by Kaspersky Lab.

Facebook's share of the phishing attacks that occurred from January through March this year was 5.7 percent, while more than 52 percent were masquerading as PayPal, 13.3 percent targeted eBay users, and 7.8 percent were fake HSBC messages. The rest of the top 10 listed in the report were Google, the Internal Revenue Service, Web-hosting site RapidShare, Bank of America, UBI credit union, and Brazilian bank Bradesco, followed by a category called "other."

"Facebook popped up unexpectedly in fourth place," the report said. "This was the first time since we started monitoring that attacks on a social-networking site have been so prolific."

Just last week, Facebook board member Jim Breyer, of venture capital firm Accel Partners, found that his Facebook account was spamming his contacts because of a phishing scam.

The report also found that spam represents about 85 percent of all e-mail traffic and that Asia remains the leading source of spam by geographical region, while the individual countries serving as the top sources are the U.S., India, and Russia.