Social Networking: May 2008 Archives

As you might imagine, I'm registered on a lot of social networking sites - a lot of the time, just to see what's coming through in terms of hijacks, adverts, scams etc. I've been registered on for a long time, but never seen anything strange come through. Until this morning, that is, when I found out I had a message waiting from Janet Jackson.

As you do.


Something tells me this isn't Janet inviting me to sing with her at the next Superbowl...
Click to Enlarge

....whoops. I doubt this is the start of an endless barrage of ringtone spam and free iPods, but it'll be interesting to see if I get anything else like this. Have spammers worked out a way to game Wayn? Have I just been lucky so far? Or have they only just started targeting the site? No idea. I'm still up for singing at the Superbowl though...

There have been a few discussions on security lists and forums regarding a wave of spam comments on Facebook that (for the most part) mention a site called There were some theories that this might be some kind of worm attack - however, one of my researchers told me last night that a relative was apparently phished and (not long after) comments such as these started appearing from the relatives account:


As the title states, no need to panic - it's highly unlikely this is anything other than somebody harvesting accounts the old fashioned way then promoting an endless deluge of pill websites. Yes, Phishing sucks - but for now, it doesn't look like is the Herald of the End of Days or anything equally dramatic..

In January, everything went a little crazy because of a Facebook application that (if you believed the hype) force installed Zango, hijacked your PC, set fire to your house, killed your pets.....well, you get the idea. In actual fact, the truth of the matter was a little more convoluted. All I could see was that this application opened up a popup, which (every now and again) would just happen to be an advert for Zango. Hardly Earth shattering, but of course it did switch people on to the fact that they needed to be careful which applications they gave permission to access their data while on Facebook.

Well, a few months on and it looks like the BBC had a coder create an application (in three hours or less) that could swipe a whole pile of data on both you and your friends, before mailing it back home to base. I can't stress enough - when it comes to social networking sites, NEVER post anything you wouldn't feel comfortable posting on an otherwise open and accessible site such as your blog, personal website, whatever. I have pages on Myspace, Facebook, Orkut and a whole bunch of others - and there is NOTHING on them that you couldn't find elsewhere. There is no hidden treasure trove of data to mine, and so I don't care what happens to it because it's all out there in the public domain anyway. This is what I've been telling people for the longest time, and it works.

A few days ago, I talked about the oddly intrusive chat attack I experienced, and how FaceTime products can control / lock down / fire into orbit Facebook applications where necessary. To date, there haven't been any applications out there that have gone in and done all sorts of horrible and malicious things to end-users on Facebook. Personally, I've been more concerned about applications that allow people to post a seemingly endless and imaginative array of body parts in various comical situations. Nobody really wants that all over their desktop in a regular workplace environment, right? However, this seems to me to be a warning shot of sorts - a warning that we not only need to consider locking down applications that cause annoyance and embarrassment, but also to keep an ear to the ground as we await the inevitable arrival of the "I BREAK STUFF" application.

Coming soon to a Web 2.0 site near you...


About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Social Networking category from May 2008.

Social Networking: March 2008 is the previous archive.

Social Networking: July 2008 is the next archive.

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