May 2, 2011, Facebook Message Spam and related virus like activity goes viral
Facebook is an excellent hunting grounds for Internet Marketers and Scam artists alike. Often, the lines are blurred. The user base of Facebook is often quite ignorant to the risks inherent in online activities regarding privacy and security of financial information. The “share” mentality and assumed safety of the platform often allows marketers and spammers and the more dangerous scammers and phishers to quickly propagate their marketing ploys, viruses, adware and intrusion attempts throughout the Facebook Network.
The most recent viral virus that I have encountered is the “Facebook Deleting all Fake Profiles” meme. For testing purposes I did click the link, it is not suggested that you ever click such links. In this case it seems Facebook has already deactivated the suspect page and the possible threat is dormant. It seems the virus was designed to auto-post and auto-message its links thoughout your Facebook network, I noticed quite a few of these messages in my Facebook wall and many IM’s were received also.
Photo by Gotham City Lost And Found
Usually, these things are rather innocuous, they are not intended to steal your personal information, sacrifice your first born or take over your PC, they are just “tricks” intended to make the creator money via advertising returns. But, they are not always so benign, some may be intended to steal your login credentials which may be used to further infiltrate your online life in search of financial data or possible identity theft. Comspiracy theories aside, there really exists an entire sub culture and black market on the net which buys/sells and comes up with unique ways to access your secure information. Some of these organizations have been linked to ex-Soviet Union Mafia organizations. This is not a joke or a conspiracy theory, where there is opportunity for easy money someone will capitalize.
How to recognize possibly dangerous Facebook Scams and Spam
In order to protect yourself from these tactics keep in mind these basic techniques used by Marketers and Scammers alike.
- (Hot Girl/Celebrity) shows all picture – see link
- (Facebook/Insert Bank/Insert Email Name) creates new rule – see link/confirm here
- You have won _____________ see link
- Secret Information the Government does not want you to know
Often, the scam is quite transparent, common sense will protect you, but most no longer have common sense.
Ask yourself these questions
Why does this stunning hot Girl want to be my friend?
Why does this hot girl have no friends and limited profile information?
Why are all my friends sharing the same odd announcement, written the exact same way?
Why doesnt Facebook/Bank/eMail provider message me themselves?
If Facebook has so much money why cant they hire a decent copywriter?
Why do I keep winning Lotteries and Contests I never entered?
In most cases, clicking the link and landing on the destination page is all that is required to begin infiltrating your personal network or even your computer, or on the benign side , make someone some dubiously earned money which will in turn spur them to continue the practice.
This Scam seems to be mostly harmless and subdued, but be vigilant about the other types that exist