July 27, 2009

Advertising on social media site raises privacy concerns

Quick post about an interesting story I just read...

One day a married man (important to mention) logged into his Facebook account to check his messages. While on his page he was presented with an ad that entised him to visit a singles site. The ad said "Hey Peter. Hot singles are waiting for you!!" So what you ask? Well it just happens that along with the ad was a picture of a woman, that woman happened to be his wife. See below:

As it turns out, a 3rd party advertiser scraped her picture and others off Facebook profiles and used them in their ads. The victim, Cheryl Smith, talks about the incident on her blog.

According to Facebook officials this violates their policy and they have removed this advertiser. They even kicked off two whole advertiser networks for terms-of-service violations (not necessarily related to this particular case).

At first this story gave me a great laugh, but that quickly turned to shock and concern. Shock that an advertiser would use such a tactic, well I guess I've seen worse but still shocked. Concern regarding privacy on social media websites.

The folks at DownloadSquad have a writeup about this incident here and Sunbelt Software talks about it as well.

Want to protect yourself from the scrapers? Read Tom Eston's Facebook Privacy & Security Guide.

July 13, 2009

More Blackhat SEO, Pelosi is Target

The blackhats continue to push their rogue security programs via Search Engine Optimization techniques. This time I ran across a site using US Congress House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's name. It appears to be all sorts of headlines and keywords such as:

pelosi says surge did not work

And there's also some not so flattering phrases:

pelosi insane
pelosi is an idiot
pelosi is a communist

Some well worded SEO there bound to attract search engine hits.

The site contains some Javascript code in it (well not anymore but it was there) which after traveling through a couple redirect sites ultimately takes the visitor to some rogue security software sites. One of which uses drive-by fake scanning tactics. The redirect sites contain quite sophisticated Javascript code to hide their purpose. They also appear to redirect you based on where you came from.

The two rogue websites by the way are:

  • protectionbenefits.cn ( Germany)
  • securedvirusscan.com ( Netherlands)
This is in no way "new news" as reported by me earlier this year Ford was a target of these fraudsters and Panda Security has numerous siteings. This surely will continue for as long as they have the ability to operate the sites.