If you believe everything you read on Facebook, you might think it’s true that Emma Watson has had her cell phone hacked, and that naked photos of the Harry Potter actress have been leaked onto the internet.
After all, I keep having readers report messages to me like these that they have seen spreading across the social network.
So, if I’m seeing these messages, and readers of this blog keep seeing these messages, why isn’t Facebook’s security team seeing these messages?
Or is it that they *are* seeing the messages, but they either:
a) don’t care?
b) aren’t capable of doing anything effective to stop them?
Whatever the explanation, it’s disturbing to continue to see spams and scams spreading so effectively across the world’s most popular social network.
It’s not as though this particular campaign is particularly sophisticated, or using any techniques which we haven’t seen spammers and scammers use many times in the past.
If you were unwise enough (or a rabid enough fan of Hermione Granger) to click on the link above, in the belief that you were about to see some risque shots of Emma Watson, you would be presented with a message like this:
Not very satisfying is it? But that, of course, is the trick.
The people behind the campaign know that someone with a perhaps unhealthy interest in Emma Watson’s naked body won’t stop at the first hurdle…
…they will throw themselves past it with gusto… giving permission to a third-party application to post further messages and photos to their own profile…
… and not worry about the consequences…
…which could be embarrassing.
The point of these scams is usually to generate income for the bad guys - driving traffic to online surveys that allow them to earn commission, signing people up to expensive mobile phone subscription services, or tricking users into clicking on links to malware-poisoned websites.
In short, you’re encouraging fraudsters and risking your computer’s health by allowing scams like this to spread.
Chances are that you may have friends on Facebook who keep falling for scams like this, littering their friends’ newsfeeds with links to dodgy webpages and money-making surveys without realising their account has been effectively compromised.
Facebook’s security team urges users to report such messages, and have systems in place to take action against individual scam campaigns should enough people complain about them, but shouldn’t they be more proactive than this?
The sheer number of warnings and attacks that are still seen spreading on the social network suggest that Facebook has not got this problem licked yet. More needs to be done to educate users about the dangers, and to proactive protect them against such scams.
If you want to keep up-to-date on the latest Facebook scams and threats against your privacy, join my Facebook page.