Internet security experts increasingly see social networking websites as a target for malicious attacks.

Attacks in the future will be technically sophisticated and users of web 2.0 applications such as Facebook and MySpace in particular could come increasingly into the sights of online criminals, according to officials at the anti-virus software maker G Data in Bochum, Germany.

“The collaborative network will be targeted for misuse through the spread of malicious software and sophisticated spam attacks,” the company said.

Germany’s federal office for security in information technology sees the same dangers and warns users of social networking sites against careless handling of their personal data. Authorities advise users, for example, to inform themselves about the general business conditions and the data protection designations of the sites.

Beyond that it’s also important to be selective about contact requests. For example, when a person tries continually to make unsolicited contact with someone, the incidents should be reported to the provider.