ShmooCon: Inside FarmVille's Sinister Underbelly

You see it all the time on Facebook: A friend moving on up in FarmVille. Another friend trying to expand his posse in Mafia Wars. Everyone thinks of them as harmless third-party applications, free from the crooks and cooks of cyberspace.

Unfortunately, that's not the case.

The sad fact is that these applications are susceptible to malware pushers and those looking to steal your personal information. It's not much of a stretch for hackers to impersonate people you think are trusted, fellow players, as is the case with a lot of online gaming. And the more you expose yourself, the bigger the target you become.

The dangers of these games were part of a larger talk on social networking dangers at the . Indeed, social networkers are in danger from all corners, be it from malicious you think is a celebrity following you or that , hoping you wouldn't notice that she's nothing more than a .

In their talk, "Social Zombies II: Your Friends Need More Brains," security practitioners Tom Eston, Kevin Johnson and Robin Wood continued what they started in their "Social Zombies: Your Friends want to eat Your Brains" presentation at DEFCON 17.

They presented new techniques and tools used to exploit people on these social networks. They also examined how all your profile information is being used against you and eroding your privacy [related story: ].