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News

New Facebook Survey Scam Gathers Personal Information

Sophos : 22 July, 2010  (Technical Article)
Sophos is warning of yet another viral scam doing the rounds on Facebook designed to cream off personal information from people filling out survey forms
IT security and data protection firm Sophos has produced a video, warning Facebook users about a new scam that is spreading quickly across the social network pretending to be a link to a photograph of a baby boy taken by his mother.

The messages, which are being posted on users' Facebook pages, read 'OMG!! Guys, you have to see this: This mother went to jail for taking this pic of her son!'

Similar to the recent 'Never Gonna Drink Coca-Cola Again' scam, the attack encourages users to 'like' a Facebook page, tricking them into sharing the link on their wall before they are able to access the image. When users have completed these necessary steps, a fake security check then appears asking users to take part in an online survey.

Sophos has produced a video, demonstrating the attack, which journalists are welcome to embed on their website.

The scammers make money from directing traffic to the online surveys, which gather personal information. In some cases the surveys claim that participants will be sent a free iPad as a prize for participating.

'I really feel like despairing that the general public will ever learn to avoid dodgy links like this,' said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. 'Criminals these days don't need to spam out their scams - they can rely on the public to spread them for them. Far too many people are prepared to endorse and share links on Facebook without properly thinking about what they are doing. In this case, they're doing it before they have any clue about what lies behind the page.'

Sophos demonstrates in the video how Facebook users that have been affected can view the recent activity on their news feed and delete entries related to the offending links. In addition, impacted users should view their profile, click on the 'Info' tab and remove any of the offending pages from the 'Likes and interests' section.
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