The Latest Social Media Scams on Twitter and Facebook


Submitted by Stan Brown | Category: Web Services | Published on Mar 13, 2011
 
Abstract:
Do you have a Twitter Account or a Facebook profile? Then you could become a victim of the latest scams to hit Twitter and Facebook.

Do you have a Twitter Account or a Facebook profile? Then you could become a victim of the latest scams to hit Twitter and Facebook. Millions of people worldwide use Twitter and Facebook to communicate for both business and personal use. This makes these platforms a good and efficient way to spread malicious code or to seed scams which could potential make millions for the cyber criminals who create them.

The very nature of Facebook and Twitter mean the dispersal of the message can be widespread in a very short time. One excellent example of how quickly things can grow via social media is Charlie Sheen who became the first person on Twitter to reach a million followers in only 24 hours.

The similarity between how Facebook and Twitter work with their status updates mean the same internet scams can be found on both sites. According to internet security firm BitDefender the recent #howlong Twitter scam was run by the same people who orchestrated a similar attack on Facebook.

The use of URL shorteners also adds another level of trickery to the scams as people do not know the URL of the site they are clicking to as they only see the shortened URL. These shortened URLs are commonly used by Twitterers due to the 140 character limit imposed.

The other internet security problem to users of Twitter is there are plenty of tools which people use to re-tweet messages to their followers automatically just by the use of a trigger word for example. If a cyber-criminal creates a scam which is centered around a very popular subject on Twitter this message could be passed on to thousands of people automatically through these automated scripts.

A recent popular Facebook scam which offers you the ability to see who viewed your profile can turn your profile into a broadcaster of malicious code. When you add this scam app you grant it comment rights. The app becomes a very active commenter and it will appear as if you have commented on any pages you have liked, on your friend’s pages and status updates. What is clever about this app is when people try to delete your comments they can’t, the comment will normally re-appear in seconds. This can cause you to be flagged and banned for being a pest.  

BitDefender found by statistics on bit.ly, the URL shortening service, that these scam links achieved around one and a half million clicks to some 263 URLs. The temptation to boost ones ego to see how many people view your profile is too much for some and people are even prepared to take numerous quizzes and surveys, another part of the scam, before downloading the app to their profile.

Once the app has been loaded it then broadcasts a fictitious number of times your profile has been viewed on your wall which then gets your friends wondering how many views they have had and the virus spreads.

There are many scams on Twitter and Facebook and this threat is likely to continue. It is important on both sites you only click on links you trust.

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If you are going to use social networking sites ensure you have the best internet security software to protect you and your computer.

 

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Name: Stan Brown
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