SOURCE: F-Secure

F-Secure,Internet Security,Anti-Virus, Antispyware,Firewall, Parental Controls

November 11, 2009 11:16 ET

Is E-mail Dead?

F-Secure Warns That the Shift From E-mail to Instant Communications Through Social Networking Sites Means Greater Vigilance Is Required Against Links and Messages Sent From Hacked Accounts

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwire - November 11, 2009) - The shift from e-mail to instant communication via social networking websites is gathering pace. This trend also has important security implications. Cybercriminals have already responded to the changing patterns of communication by focusing more activity on popular social networks.

Instead of logging in and out of the Internet to send e-mail, many people are now constantly online with their computers and smartphones. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have grown rapidly as people are making use of the constant stream of fast communications that these sites enable. According to statistics from Nielsen Co., the number of users on social networking and other community sites increased by 31% in the period August 2008 - August 2009, while e-mail use increased by 21%. It may be too early to pronounce that e-mail is dead but the figures do highlight a growing trend.

F-Secure Security Advisor Sean Sullivan said, "E-mail account addresses can be faked and people are used to getting mails from 'unknown' persons, so they are skeptical of links sent via e-mail. It is often more difficult to recognize when a member of their social network has been hacked. People have not yet learned to be skeptical of the links forwarded by their 'friends' in social networks, which can lead to infection from malware or to websites promoting rogue products."

Cybercriminals see opportunities to make money from hacking Facebook and other social networking accounts, where the high level of personal trust within communities of friends provides them an ideal cover for scams and for spreading malware.

A personal message or a suggestion to visit a website received from a family member or a friend does not usually set the security alarm bells ringing. However, the Browsing Protection offered by F-Secure Internet Security does. Instead of clicking directly on a link sent by a friend, it is always a good idea to search for the link first and see whether F-Secure's advanced Browsing Protection considers the web page to be safe. A symbol next to the search results shows if the link should be treated with caution.

Sullivan added, "Instant communications are fun, personal and useful, but everyone should be aware of the new security risks involved. Links sent from hacked accounts and requests for financial help from so-called friends are bound to increase as social networking sites become ever more popular."

For more information about F-Secure Internet Security 2010 with Browsing Protection go to

F-Secure Browsing Protection Portal:

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While you concentrate on what is important to you, we make sure you are protected and safe online whether you are using a computer or a smartphone. We also backup and enable you to share your important files. Our services are available through over 200 operators around the world and trusted in millions of homes and businesses. Founded in 1988, F-Secure is listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki Ltd.

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