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Facebook scam: “Baby born, Amazing effects”

G20th June 2011

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TFacebook

Be aware of the “What a sweet big baby being born, Amazing effects” Facebook scam.

I actually fell for a Facebook scam today.

Normally I consider myself good at picking the scams but this one got me. The scam is called “What a sweet big baby being born, Amazing effects” and consists of a link placed on a friend’s wall, similar to this:

"What a sweet big baby being born, Amazing effects"

The "What a sweet big baby being born, Amazing effects" Facebook scam

Let’s call my colleague “Jane” (not her real name). Jane is a mother of a beautiful two-year-old with another expecting at the end of the year. Because the link appeared on her page and not that of someone else, I trusted it and clicked.

As has been reported on Sophos Naked Security, this is a “likejacking” scam. By clicking on the link, one is redirected to a page (the URLs of which vary) with a YouTube-style video screen containing a thumbnail and play button or the same superimposed with a Facebook-style dialogue box asking for a survey to be completed, for which there is no cancel option.

"What a sweet big baby being born, Amazing effects" scam page

For the version of the site with no “Win an iPad 2” survey link, text on the website reads “If Play Button don’t work please click on the Like button and Confirm, then you can watch the Video.” According to Sophos, it is in clicking the video “play” button (or presumably the “Win an iPad 2” link) that causes the problem because in fact, it’s actually a secret Facebook “like” button. By clicking, a link will appear on your wall, and so the scam will spread to others.

To report this to Facebook, click on the ‘X’ button beside the link in Facebook, then “Report as Spam”.

Just last week, I wrote about the introduction of http://t.co on Twitter. Whilst I am not keen on t.co, I appreciate that Twitter are using it to screen unsavoury links to phishing and malware sites. This is commendable.

Facebook also redirects links, in their case via https://www.facebook.com/l.php. Unfortunately it appears that Facebook doesn’t screen links appearing on its website and the aforementioned URL is in fact an open redirector that is ripe for abuse.  Hence there are reports of phishing scams on Facebook going back years. This time I was lucky that it was just a “linkjacking” scam.

Next time it could be something far more sinister.

Google screens links on their search engine, and warn of malicious sites via their “This site may harm your computer” warning. Twitter are now screening linked sites too. When will Facebook also take responsibility and start enacting similar security measures?

Whilst I believe that an individual user needs to be cautious and sensible online, we can all fall for tricks sometimes. For that reason, if nothing else, I believe social media websites need to take responsibility and properly monitor or screen external links to protect their users and  ultimately their own reputations from attack.

   

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