Next Great Social Media Frontier
This past week we all learned a valuable lesson about Facebook: It’s not as secure as we thought it was. In fact, they suffered one of the worst spam attacks in recent memory, with millions of members waking up to naked pictures of celebrities (photo-shopped, of course) and photos of dead animals in their update stream. This caused a slight panic, with some users posting Tweets that they were shutting down their Facebook accounts for good as a result, though no reports on how many that was (probably not many.)
It also caused a surge of interest in start-ups dedicated to inventing new technology to keep our sacred social media networks decidedly spam free. These new companies intend to provide new and improved ways to protect our private information and keep us safe from pictures of naked celebrities (photo-shopped or not.) It remains to be seen how effective their efforts will be in the long run, but the market is definitely anxious to see what they can do.
Social media is one of the most popular Internet tools (I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know) keeping pace even with search. But if these networks can’t address issues such as spam they will eventually suffer a backlash from users. Because if you can’t keep spammers from our status updates, how can you promise to keep our personal information safe?
Simple question; complicated answer.
Impermium was founded earlier this year by Mark Risher and is focused on creating “virtual credit scores” of Internet users so sites can judge their credibility, according to the Wall Street Journal. Risher headed up Yahoo’s efforts to eliminate spam in users’ e-mail inboxes and believes hackers are now shifting their targets to affect even more users.
“Social media is the new frontier for all of this spam,” said Risher. “Just like when email was brand new, bad guys found a way to try to pile in there.”
One of the biggest examples of spammers attacking social networks occurred over the past week. Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes reported the site experienced “a coordinated spam attack that exploited a browser vulnerability,” and said the company is “in the process of investigating to identify those responsible.”
The attack tricked users into clicking on a story they thought would bring them a related video or picture. Instead, Facebook members were taken to websites that attacked their browsers with malicious software and posted violent and disturbing images to their news feeds.
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