Beware of Facebook "Dislike" Scam

Published: August 17th 2010
in News » World

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Facebook users beware - a new scam circling the social network these days tempts you to install a "dislike" button, in addition to the existing “like” button, which is an integral part of the site. The scam tricks the users into allowing an application to access their profile page, which then immediately starts posting spam messages on it. It also attempts to lure people into completing an online survey, for which the scammers are paid money.


As aforementioned, the social network already offers a "like" button that allows people to rate and respond to other people's comments and posts.


According to online security firm Sophos, this was the latest in a series of "survey scams" that include links to a video purporting to show an anaconda snake vomiting up a hippo. "One thing we commonly see is that the message starts with 'OMG, shocking video,'" a Sophos spokesman said. Basically the problem is that the viral links "appear to come from your Facebook friend, giving it a ringing endorsement."


The “dislike” button scam prompts people to download an application with the following message: "Download the official DISLIKE button now." When users click on the link, it prompts them to install a rogue application, which does not function as a “dislike” button, or any other button.


Instead, once a user has given the application permission to access their profile, it updates the user's page with a link and a message: "I just got the dislike button, so now I can dislike all of your dumb posts lol!!!"


According to Facebook usage polls, it turns out many people accept completely unknown applications, assuming they are not harmful.


As for the surveys (linked from the spam messages), they appear to be from genuine companies. As far as most users can tell, they appear to be legitimate. "It could be that the firms are not policing their affiliates properly," Sophos suggested.


The scam finally points users towards a Firefox add-on that installs a "dislike" button. The add-on also appears to be legitimate. The scam-makers did not respond to any request for comment.


A spokesperson for Facebook said that the site had a "very quick process in place" to make sure that links and rogue applications were taken down promptly. "We always encourage people to not click on links that appear suspicious - even if posted from a friend,” a spokesperson said. "They can report any posts to us. We can make sure that we take down any application or all of the links across Facebook."


But many web security specialists suggest that although Facebook could respond quickly, it should police the development of rogue applications more closely. They claim that anyone can write a Facebook app, which is why these scams are constantly springing up.


Finally, while the advantages of using Facebook are obvious, it comes with its very own share of problems, so always remember to protect your personal data and be mindful of useless, seemingly innocent requests.

Related articles: (Facebook, scam, dislike, button)
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