back to article Dodgy Facebook pages used to power 'spam a friend' joke scam

Dubious Facebook pages host rogue Javascript code that creates a means for miscreants to spam people on a user’s friends list, security researchers warn. Chris Boyd (aka Paperghost), a security researcher at Sunbelt software, explains that the ruse relies on duping prospective marks into completing surveys. Users who complete …


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  1. Saint Sound

    About time this was highlighted

    Who wants to see Disney's hidden message?

  2. Jimbo 6

    "Users who follow through"


    [Beavis & Butthead icon required]

  3. Anonymous Coward

    this is why hooking grandparents to Facebook is bad

    there seems to be a much stronger assumption of trust amongst elderly non-computer savvy relatives. Especially when they trust the initial installer or the person who recommended the site.

    Once their son/daughter/grandchild decides they're too lazy to even email baby pics to Grandma so she can view them on her new netbook, and sets her up on a Facebook account, all bets are off. Because son/daughter/grandchildren would *never* recommend something harmful for Grandma to use would they?

    The situation is worsened when they themselves lack the savvy to understand that no site, especially something that's popular, is full of valuable marks and appeals to "social"-ites, should always be trusted. Users should always be on the lookout for anything "weird" happening or unusual behavior. Trust But Verify.

    I have my mother trained, to call me if anything happens that's different than what she expects. But that's because I'm a heartless IT bastard-wannabe. And I have no problem sending pics to people on a mailing list. My roomates' great grandma, and most of her relatives (mother, sisters, etc) would follow the instructions by rogue apps to the letter if they thought it'd get them another mission in Mafia Wars or harvest a crop sooner in Farmville. :(

    Grenade because that's what needs to happen to people who take advantage of the electronically handicapped Lusers of SocialWeb2.0

    1. Jimmy 1

      That's life.

      Interesting that you should identify this demographic of 600,000 gullible Facebook users as mainly belonging to the older generation who, unless they are suffering from senile dementia, are more likely to have acquired a healthy scepticism from their lifelong exposure to lying politicians, biased newspapers, scam-merchants, and every advert that has ever seen the light of day.

      More probably the majority of this 600k belong to the younger generation of click-happy, celeb-chasing wannabees who are only just entering the same learning process that their elders have already experienced.

      If we didn't have such a politically engineered shambles of an education system it might even be possible to include "healthy scepticism" as a suitable subject for the protection of the innocent.

  4. hatrickpatrick

    It's MUCH worse than you think

    It's even worse than you think. I've written an article about this on my own page if you feel like going through it in detail:

    Briefly, Facebook is actively encouraging such scams through its addition of the "static FBML" feature to its pages app. One of the things which has made Facebook stand out against other social networks is the lack of theme variations - every page has the same style, and no cluttered, lagging, myspace style custom themes are allowed. While many would view this as a restriction, it has prevented Facebook from turning into the nightmare MySpace is.

    Several months ago all that changed, when Facebook introduced a tool to allow only business owners to change the layout of their pages. The most dangerous aspect of this change is the fb:connection tag - it allows page owners to make certain content "for fans only".

    Now they are, as you're saying, using these gimmicks to amass hundreds of fans. And why? Because the owners of these pages are starting to seel their fans and status updates on ebay and other sites. Do a google search for 'facebook fan page for sale' and you will find hundreds of results. And Facebook is not only doing nothing about it, they are actively encouraging this by showcasing the "exclusive fan only content" features of FBML.

    If this is not stopped quickly, Facebook will become another cluttered, dead social network. And the only way to stop it is to raise awareness, which is why I commend the author if this article. Far too many people are joining these groups without first considering the serious privacy implications that the simple action of clicking "like" actually has for them and their friends. It's time the users of Facebook declare in one voice that we have had enough of this nonsense and that either Facebook can take proper action against it, or we will go somewhere else. We've already done that to Bebo, MySpace, and every other social network which has made this exact mistake - I don't see any reason Facebook should be an exception.

    In the age of the internet, power truly does lie with the users, and not with the management. It's revolutionary, and the sooner businesses realize this fact and stop resisting it, the better for EVERYONE.

  5. Anonymous Coward


    >Baits being used in the ruse offer supposed access to the "world's funniest joke", among other ruses.

    Surely that's a self defeating? I mean everyone knows that hearing that joke is fatal...

    Mine's the one with the Holy Grail in the pocket.

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Re:Facebook will become another cluttered, dead social network

    It can't happen fast enough.

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