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Friends fooled by Facebook Timeline 'removal tool' scams

Miscreants exploit users' keenness to get rid of crapness

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Two separate "Timeline-removing" spam scams are doing the rounds on Facebook, security watchers warn.

Both ruses feature dodgy messages targeting users of the social network who happen to dislike the recently introduced feature, and are looking for a way to go back to the "old look". In the first case, users who take the bait are encouraged to install a browser plug-in that supposedly removes Facebook Timeline from social networking profiles.

At the time of writing on Tuesday lunchtime, anti-virus vendor Sophos was in the process of evaluating what the software, available for download from a recently established website in Turkey, actually does. In the meantime it advises users to avoid installing the plug-ins.

Screenshots of the messages, and the browsers plug-ins they, err, plug, can be found in a blog post by Sophos here.

Timeline-exorcising browser extensions are also being offered via an application called "Facebook Timeline Remover", Chris Boyd of GFI Software warns. However in this case no browser plug-in is actually on offer. Marks are instead invited to complete a collection of surveys, enriching dodgy marketing affiliates in the process. ®

Updated to add

A Facebook spokesman has got in touch this afternoon to say: "Security is a top priority for Facebook, and we devote significant resources to helping people protect their accounts and information. We’ve built numerous defences to combat phishing and malware, including complex automated systems that work behind the scenes ... Security is an arms race, and our teams are always working to identify the next threat and build defences for it."

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