Everyday our e-mail accounts are filled with a lot of unwanted e-mails that we call junk emails or spam. Over the years email services have devised many hacks to detect and filter spam. And, spam has grown less effective due to breakthroughs in spam filtering techniques. Now, the spammers have switched to a new medium for spamming – the social media. The huge growth in the social media and immature protection techniques has lured the spammers exploit the loopholes.
Many people in the past few months have become a victim of the spamming in different social media sites. Due to spammers’ activities, these victims are sometimes losing their faces to friends. Moreover, some victims’ business reputation has been already lost.
Michelle Espinoza, a resident of Santa Rosa Beach, FL, is a jewelry maker. She has become a victim of the spamming in a social networking site. She designed a pearl cuff bracelets and it was showed up on Pinterest, a site where users create virtual bulletin boards, grouping images in categories. For 10 days in April, anybody who clicked on the photo ended up watching pornography. Sometime it led the clickers downloading a virus unknowingly. For this, Espinoza has lost so many customers. But who knew her or had a little bit idea about her or her well-wishers had understood that Espinoza became a victim of spamming and notified her. When she asked about the issue to Pinterest, Pinterest mentioned that their engineers were actively working on the site to make it harder for fake or harmful content to get into the site.
On the other side, chief executive officer of Impermium Mark Risher said, “Social spam can be a lot more effective than e-mail spam. The bad guys are taking to this with great abandon”. According to him, spammers create as many as 40 percent of the accounts on social-media sites. About 8 percent of messages sent via social pages are spam. In addition, spammers use the sharing features on social sites to spread their messages. While clicking on a spammer’s link, it may ask you to “like” or “share” a page, or to allow an app to gain access to your profile.
It is true that social media sites are often poorly equipped to deal with such influx. To protect their sites from spammers, Facebook and Twitter hired programmers and security specialists. In January, Facebook sued advertising network Adscend Media because of sending unsolicited messages to Facebook users. By clicking on a link provided by the spammer, some users had done unwittingly “likejacking.” At least 280,214 users were tricked into interacting with spam. About 80 percent of Adscend’s monthly revenue of $1.2 million came from Facebook scams.
Another social networking site Twitter last month sued spam software makers Skootle and JL4 Web Solutions and official staffs. The company mentioned that they were responsible for spam that resulted in some users canceling accounts. But, Skootle denied the wrongdoing. JL4 hasn’t responded yet to the complaint.
If the spammers can attack Facebook, Twitter or Pimterest, no doubt any time they can attack other social media sites too. That means, we need to be very careful when using social networking sites.
Source : Businessweek