Feeds

Lying Facebook app offers Google+ invites

Trendjackers spam your friends, slurp your data

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Facebook scammers have latched onto the buzz around Google+, as the theme for a new scam that has already claimed thousands of fans victims.

A fake app, called "Google Plus Direct Access", prompts users to visit a page on the social networking site they need to "like" in order to progress: a process that hands over personal information to the unknown developers of the dodgy app. Wouldbe victims are falsely offered a chance of getting an invitation to Google+, it is implied, in exchange for spamming their friends with invites to try out the rogue app.

No such offer is actually available.

In reality victims only succeed in further publicising the rogue app, which falsely claims that it offers a means to "Invite 50 friends!" onto Google+.

The whole ploy, which might easily be altered to promote sites harbouring malware on running privacy-threatening survey scams, is already serving as an efficient spreading mechanism.

Net security firm BitDefender reports that the tactic has allowed the dodgy application to gain more than 15,000 fans in less than a day.

"This scam highlights the importance to cybercriminals of 'trendjacking' the latest big news in order to exploit people's natural curiosity," said Catalin Cosoi, head of BitDefender's online threats lab. "With high press coverage and the estimated number of users approaching 10 million, Google+ certainly fits the bill as a hook for this sort of activity."

Stats from BitDefender's Safego Facebook security app suggest that 25 per cent of users had seen some form of malicious content shared by one of their friends at one time or another.

Net security firm Sophos echoes BitDefender's warning, adding that social networking users need to be careful about what application they allow, a precaution that especially applies when the basic premise of an app is suspicious. Easy invitations to Facebook's new rival in the social network market is hardly something you'd think the Zuckerberg-run outfit would be looking to encourage.

"You should also exercise great caution about what third-party apps you allow to access your Facebook records, especially when they are demanding the ability to post to your wall and grab personal information such as your date of birth and current location," Sophos warns.

A full write-up of the Google+ invite scam, along with advice on how to clean up your profile after mistakenly installing this type of app, can be found in a blog post by Sophos here. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...
FYI this isn't just going to target Windows, Linux and OS X fans
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Home Office: Fancy flogging us some SECRET SPY GEAR?
If you do, tell NOBODY what it's for or how it works
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.