A computer worm called Ramnit has been used to compromise approximately 45,000 Facebook accounts, most of them in Europe and the UK, a security firm reported this week. According to Seculert, the Ramnit worm, which has been described as "a multi-component malware family which infects Windows executable as well as HTML files," is now targeting social media sites such as Facebook.
More from the Seculert team:
We suspect that the attackers behind Ramnit are using the stolen credentials to log-in to victims' Facebook accounts and to transmit malicious links to their friends, thereby magnifying the malware's spread even further. In addition, cybercriminals are taking advantage of the fact that users tend to use the same password in various web-based services (Facebook, Gmail, Corporate SSL VPN, Outlook Web Access, etc.) to gain remote access to corporate networks.
In other words, if you use the same password for your email and your Facebook, an attack by the Ramnit worm could leave both accounts vulnerable. (It's worth noting here that you should always vary the passwords you use for different sites.) So how serious is the breach? Well, Facebook, for its part, is assuring users that it has the situation under control.
"Our security experts have reviewed the data, and while the majority of the information was out of date, we have initiated remedial steps for all affected users to ensure the security of their accounts," a Facebook rep told ZD Net. "Thus far, we have not seen the virus propagating on Facebook itself, but have begun working with our external partners to add protections to our antivirus systems to help users secure their devices," the rep added.
Moreover, ZD Net is reporting that most of the hacked accounts were out of date – comforting news for Facebook users.