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News

419 scams hit social network sites.

BitDefender UK : 18 April, 2008  (Technical Article)
The old Nigerian 419 scam inviting e-mail recipients to take part in money-laundering activities has now migrated onto the LinkedIn social networking site.
Social networks are the latest medium for nigerian '419' scams. The phenomenon has been first observed by BitDefender researchers on the professionals' networking website LinkedIn, but other social networking websites may be used as well.

The scam letter gets sent as a LinkedIn invite (a means by which a LinkedIn user can request to be added to another's social network). Backing it up is a profile page built to order to reflect the fraudster's claims in the invite. As they are only delivered to LinkedIn user accounts, such messages completely bypass antispam filters.

Commenting on the scam, BitDefender CTO, Bogdan Dumitru said. 'I think this new twist to the old 419 scheme is more dangerous, as there's an increased chance for network users to fall for the scam, since they use it to build up their businesses or careers and thus tend to grant it some implicit trust.'

The users' trust may well be misplaced. LinkedIn does not in any way verify the identity of those who join, which sometimes leads to abuses - such as a recent incident in which pornography websites added specially-crafted userpages on linked-in, in an attempt to boost their search rankings.

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