Enterprises planning on making the most of social networking will need to rethink their security policies in the wake of a huge increase in malware, according to security experts.“As a trend, social networking attacks are set to grow quickly,” says Nick Garlick, managing director of Nebulas Solutions, which presented the report. “These attacks are currently targeting the individual, but as the attacks become more automated they will swell in size and organisations will need to prioritise securing web application traffic.”

The warning comes follows the release of the Web Hacking Incidents Database 2009 Bi-Annual Report that found 19% of all hacking incidents targeted social-networking sites.

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"The jump in attacks in social networking site attacks can be put down to popular new technologies like Twitter, where cross-site scripting and CSRF worms were unleashed," says Garlick.

The comments follow a recent report from Kaspersky which found that malware writers were beginning to use the popular microblogging service as a distribution mechanism for their creations.

"It is hard for companies to block access to the sites without stopping staff from using the business benefits of social networking, such as linking with customers and suppliers," says Garlick. "The problem has always existed but it has been propelled forward suddenly by user generated content."

According to Nebulas, system managers must consider employing specific web application firewalls to compliment defences without blocking all Web 2 content.