Earlier this month Facebook said it was working to protect its users from phishing scams that tried to lure people to malicious Web sites. Now the scams have reappeared.
But from what we can tell, Facebook appears to be delivering on its promise: You may be getting unpleasant spam and viruses in your inbox or on your wall, but Facebook will do its best to make sure that stuff can’t hurt you.
Here’s how the scam is supposed to work: A virus sends messages to users that seemingly come from their friends (complete with names and pictures), and encourage them to click on a link. But the links bring users to a site that tries to steal their data.
The scam started showing up on Facebook this summer. But in an August 7th blog post, Facebook security chief Max Kelly said his team had figured a way to shield users: The network, he said, had “identified and blocked the ability to link to the malicious websites from anywhere on Facebook.” That is: He can’t promise to keep your profile or inbox clean. But he can at least stop users from harming themselves if they click on the link.
So Facebook users are indeed still getting malicious mail and postings. But Facebook appears to be combating it by deactivating the links – when it can.
For instance, check out the screen shots below, sent to us by a Facebook user we know. The “Some thinks your special” message, dated at 8:01 am, has a hot link to a phishing site, which our tipster saw this morning. But by the time we asked him for more information about the link, it had already been deactivated — just like the two other bogus links he’d received recently.
Obviously, this won’t offer 100% protection: Someone who is completely unaware of what they’re doing online (a population that is likely increasing on Facebook as its user base expands) may still end up clicking on the bogus links. But at least give Facebook credit for making it harder for its users to hurt themselves.
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