Most Facebook Users Blindly Click Malware Links

A whopping 97 percents of people surveyed by BitDefender click on links shared on social networks without checking them for malware.

Most people click on malware links without thinking twice, at least on social networks.

A survey by security firm BitDefender found that 97 percent of respondents on Facebook and Twitter click on links without checking for malware.

BitDefender determined this by creating test profiles on Facebook and Twitter, building up networks of friends totaling about 1,900 and then sending them all three links leading to malware. Indeed, 97 percent of these contacts admitted to clicking the bad links.

These so-called bad links were, however, modified to make the otherwise malicious pages unavailable. These test shares all included the note, “if the link doesn’t work, please tell me in order to use another link shortening system.”

BitDefender’s E-Threats Analyst and Communication Specialist, Sabrina Dactu, who authored the test described here, wrote:

Despite their enhanced ease of use and of transmission, short URLs have a huge disadvantage from the point of view of data security: because of the short link’s cryptic nature, the user doesn’t know what’s behind the link before actually accessing it.

Of course, findings such as these continue to make a great case for adding BitDefender’s safego application to your Facebook profile. However, it’s hard to know whether the security vendor’s done sufficient research in this case. How can 1,900 survey respondents be a representative sample of a social network with a membership closing in on the 600 million mark?

Sample sizes aside, I wonder whether people don’t fully understand what malware does, which would explain why most people don’t check shared links.

Readers, what do you think about the latest malware statistics from BitDefender?