Facebook is hit by another scam and now outranks both AOL and Windows as the easiest target. Ff you use Facebook, you need to beware of just about everything.
Some people want to know who looks at their Facebook profile. They are obvious suckers for a virus or worm style program from all those nasty people who attacked AOL users then Windows users. The attack starts with the following tempting message.
OMG OMG OMG ... I cant believe this actually works! Now you really can see who viewed your profile!
So lets back up a little. The first scammers and virus writers attacked AOL users because AOL users are seen as inexperienced beginners open to any scam.
Windows was the next target because many people use the unsafe home edition instead of the Pro edition. The Pro edition is already infected with Internet Explorer, reducing the Pro edition security to that of the home edition. You really have to work hard to set the Pro edition security to protect Windows against Internet Explorer. Then you have to fight Outlook Express. In effect, Microsoft is the first scammer to infect Windows with viruses and worms and Microsoft do it back at the factory before they ship Windows. This lays out the red carpet for all the other scammers and virus writers in the world.
Linux, Unix, and the Apple branded Unix (OSX) are also successfully attacked but not many virus writers bother because Windows has 20 times more users and most of the Windows users leave their Windows wide open. Plus the anti-virus software companies have a financial interest in leaving Windows open so they can sell more software.
Java is up there with AOL and Windows as an easy target. If you allow Java in your Web browser, you are doing the equivalent of leaving your front door open and setting up a table full of weapons next to the front door, something attractive to most home invaders. When I use Windows, I use the Pro version and do not use Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, anti-virus software, or allow Java in a Web browser. My Windows machines survive for many years without a virus. On one occasion on one machine, an update for Firefox switched on Java and a few hours later, the machine was infected by a virus from one of those nasty pop up adverts.
I cleared out the virus, completely removed Java from that machine, and installed anti-virus software on that machine. The machine is now almost unusable because of the anti-virus software and will be switched to Linux because switching to Linux is easier than trying to live with anti-virus software.
Back to Facebook. Of all the Web sites in current use, Facebook has the largest number of users and the highest percentage of inexperienced users. Facebook is the modern AOL. Why are numbers and experience important?
Scams work on one out of a million users. Many sites have less than a million users, making scams unprofitable. Facebook has over a billion users. When you run a scam on Facebook, you can get a thousand suckers signed up. The money rolls in. Size is important.
Scams work the first time but not the second time because people know about the scams. You want first time users. Facebook has about a hundred million first time users signing up every month. That is a hundred new suckers for your scam based on one out of a million beginners.
What do I mean by experience? The common Nigerian scam started back in the 1960s when faxes became common. Ask anyone who owned a business land a fax machine last century. They received a scam fax. They can tell you how the scams work.
Sending faxes costs money using the old telephone system. Sending an email, tweet, bleet, to an AOL, Windows, Facebook user costs nothing. You can now send out a billion scam messages for less than the cost of one fax. Mass scamming is low cost, the main reason it is so common now. First time users, lacking in experience, rush to open messages, read messages, and select links. Bang. They die. Or at least their computer dies. Facebook users are often really easy victims because they are set up on Facebook by friends and relatives with no training. Facebook is all over the trade press because of the constant security failures but you never see it mentioned in the mainstream media. Your typical new Facebook user walks in blindfolded.
The Facebook scam is also easy to miss because it is not obviously like any of the well known previous scams. The Facebook OMG scam offers an application to do something that is not possible. The OMG scam application sounds like it can rad the Facebook logs to display who visits your site. Instead the OMG scam is a virus that installs a tracking system and GKWE (G Knows What Else) in your Facebook pages. The OMG scam then does whatever it wants to do and makes money from selling whatever information it can scam from your pages. It might provide some information to you to keep you using the scam software or it might rely on you forgetting it is there.
Good anti-scam software in modern web browsers should detect the tracking software and warn people against visiting your Facebook pages, decreasing the popularity of your pages, but good anti-scam software is new and not in common use, giving the OMG scammers plenty of time to build up a huge database from Facebook victims.
Avoid Facebook. If you cannot avoid Facebook, use it only for social contact with Facebook users and thoroughly investigate the safe practices. Do not use Facebook for personal information or anything to do with your business. Placing customer or customer related information on Facebook will be illegal in Australia as soon as our privacy laws are refined. Do not install any of the option extras or add-on applications until they are thoroughly tested and documented by security experts.