Avoiding Infected Apps & Links
Facebook has been one very sick puppy this week…
You can find a list of many of the recent very dangerous pieces of infected content on Facebook over at the Facebook Infection & Scams Update.
There has been a lot of yelling, sulking, pleading and despair over the recent huge surge in Facebook infected spams, scams, click-jacking & infected links.
It’s important to understand that that crap showing up on your wall posted by someone else is likely infected and was not ACTUALLY posted by them… but that they likely DID click an infected link that got posted on their wall.
It important that you ALWAYS THINK before clicking anything on Facebook!
Sign 1: Posted On Your Profile Wall
This is big glaring sign one. It’s not that friends don’t occasionally write on our walls… it’s that generally speaking they drop in to leave a brief message… not drop a link. Sure, sometimes they do leave a link, but statistically not. Posts with links that appear on our wall are quite often if not scams then at least spams.
While there is a chance its just an application that was cute, and your friend hit “share with friends” and it spammed you on the “kind” behalf and there is no nefarious behavior… the statistics, particularly this week, are low … and your profile safety and friends data security ride on you being 100% right.
Sign 2: It’s got a shortened URL.
This is like getting in a car with someone with a blindfold over your eyes… you don’t know for sure that it’s definitely your friend at the wheel and you don’t know where they’re taking you!
Examples of shortened URLs (definitely not all) include: http://bit.ly http://tiny.url http://goog.le
The last one probably surprises you as it’s FBs own shortener, but it is actually bit.ly under the hood and can be masking anything.
Sign 3: It’s the kinda thing that would “logically” be on the sharers wall, not your own.
If someone is showing off a funny video… a cute baby…. a rockin band… or media information… then the natural place for it to get posted is on their own profile wall. If they are in their news feed and either share or re-share something that is where it gets posted. The red alert should go off when this item ends up on YOUR wall.
Sign 4: It scares you.
Whether it’s the “Facebook is deleting all non-verified accounts”…. or ” your ex is stalking your profile”… or “find out who’s stalking you”… or even “find out who unfriended you”…
Many of the hottest Facebook scams and spams employ fear tactics. The most recent example of this was the “Facebook owns your private photos” stupidity that was making the rounds.
Even when it’s not an infected link, people will often do the copy-paste thing, engaging in slactivism (that is, activism without actually getting off their butts to do something useful) and spread fear mongering because it makes them feel good that they are helping. Unfortunately, this behavior makes it hard for REAL alerts to get spread. Boy who cried wolf problem.
Understanding that under Facebook’s current technology it is not possible to track who views your profile, “stalks you”, or unfriends you after the fact, makes it easier to spot these troublemakers.
Sign 5: It makes you feel guilty for inaction.
If your friend is a business professional, s/he likely has no clue they just spammed your wall with a recommendation request, while trying to be a good friend and recommend one of their friends that did the same to them. Do you see the dangerous loop here? Everyone’s TRYING to be helpful but the requests are not generated authentically or with adequate knowledge and so its gone viral without actually being something we intended to spread.
There have also been scam apps and links that are associated with charities that touch our heart. Again another emotional pull
Sign 6: Its disturbing.
While at the surface level, you can put the recent piece of infected Osama (vide0) scam there…. generally speaking this category is filled with more perverse and emotionally concerning things such as: Teen Kills Self On Webcam …. or Father Walks In On Daughter…. etc.
Beyond issues of morality… morbid curiosity can kill the cat.
But It Says My Name!
There was a point in time, that apps were not smart enough to harvest your first name and use it in the message left with the infected link.
Today, a message posted by an application, completely automated, not actually wrote by your friend, can easily address you by your name… and because it makes it sound more convincing many of them do!
Isn’t it just disgusting how manipulative these nasty little buggers can be?
Always observe the link, where it’s posted (if its on YOUR wall, eye it with suspicion), if it seems 100% congruent with my (or your friends) way of speaking and engaging, if the link was shortened (huge give away, not all shortened links are infected but a high percentage of infected links are shortened), and if, once you chose to click it if it asks you to approve, allow, install or copy/paste anything.
The fact that the message includes your name is not enough to prove it’s not spam as the spambots have already read the information on your profile that your friend gave them access to abuse.
I just UPDATED the Facebook Spams & Scams post with about five more and some more pictures as well as some information.
Play Hard, Be Safe, Keep On Rockin!
Your Partner In Online Success
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