Social Networking: February 2009 Archives

There's been quite a bit of action on Facebook the last couple of days, and none of it good from the looks of things:

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As you can see, there's been an application doing the rounds called "Error Check System" causing problems for lots of people.

A quick observation before going on - the name sounds an awful lot like those given to rogue security programs, isn't it? When I heard about this, I was convinced it'd pop open a rogue antispware cleaner once installed as an application. Anyway...on your notification panel, you'd see this:

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A message that one of your friends "faced some errors" checking your profile. If you clicked "View the Errors", you'd be taken to an application installer page.

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Once this was done, it would bombard your friends with invites to use the application.

Over....and over......and over again.

It seems Facebook has since killed the application off - it no longer exists (for the moment!) to install on your profile. Interestingly, the creators kept putting it back online under different Facebook application URLs until Facebook killed it off completely.

Besides incredibly annoying spam and some other potentially dubious (mis)uses of technology (many people report the app not showing up on the page where you'd remove applications, and others claim it installed without them hitting "Activate") it doesn't appear to have done anything too malicious.

However, Josh Lim covered this on his blog and I can't help but notice.....again.....well, check out this portion of his screenshot:


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Ignoring the "Fake!" he pasted over the logo, how similar to rogue antispyware tool stock graphics is that? I'm pretty sure I've seen that exact graphic used on a rogue tool / advert before, but of course there's so many of them around it would take a little while to confirm. If anybody wants to play "match the graphic to the rogue" in the meantime, be my guest!

Even more curious, someone (as if by magic) has manipulated search results so that anyone searching for "Error Check System" in Google will see this as the top entry:

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Click it, and you're taken to an extremely aggressive set of rogue antivirus download pages.

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So even though the "threat" of Error Check System on Facebook has fallen by the wayside (until they come back, of course), you'll need to be careful if you go looking for more information on this particular incident over the coming weeks...

Playfire Controversy

| | Comments (4)
This is pretty bizarre. Here, we have a social networking site asking for pretty much every type of login you can imagine and getting a fair amount of criticism for it in the process. The way they go about it is somewhat peculiar, and though I don't think it was malicious on their part, it illustrates how what somebody thinks is a good idea can go horribly wrong very quickly.

The site in question is Playfire.com, a social networking site for people interested in videogames.

What were they doing? Well,it seemed messages were being sent to people on your XBox Live friends list, "reserving" a page for that username then presenting that individual with the below page:

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Note that it asks for your XBox Live login. At that point, according to numerous complaints on forums, those friends would then receive a message on XBox Live that appeared to have come from you, recommending Playfire.

A Playfire employee has been busy posting to this blog post, and also this forum thread on the subject. From the last link:

"It looks like Microsoft's legal team has triumphed. According to Large Jaguar, Xbox.com Development Manager, "PlayFire is no longer collecting WLID credentials for people's Xbox LIVE accounts."

Again, I don't think there's anything malicious going on here - but it's a good example of how a few poorly chosen "features" can seriously damage your reputation.

When you're a new site, that's really the last thing you need...

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Social Networking category from February 2009.

Social Networking: December 2008 is the previous archive.

Social Networking: March 2009 is the next archive.

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