The Emergence of “Spam 2.0”

38197-spam.pngMy recent blog post on the possible “Facebook Worm” seems to be making an effect in security circles. Within 24 hours I quickly got this e-mail from Zango making sure their name was not associated with it:

Hello Jesse,

I am writing to you about the above entitled post. I first want to clarify that we (Zango) had no involvement with the “Secret Crush” Facebook widget. Matt Hines of InfoWorld clarified that in a blog post in January. You should take a look at: http://weblog.infoworld.com/zeroda)y/archives/2008/01/zango_strikes_b.html.

Mr. Hines’ blog post was spurred by our thorough investigation, which began with a blog post (http://blog.zango.com/PermaLink,guid,94c0e12c-c69e-484f-81b8-b8b58953d71b.aspx) and ended with another post (http://blog.zango.com/PermaLink,guid,b148693d-dbb7-48b9-a102-af336768a424.aspx) and press release (http://www.easyir.com/easyir/prssrel.do?easyirid=83181A68A6B07C97&version=live&prid=345840&releasejsp=release_21).

So to answer your question: Since Zango was not inovlved, we are not associated in any way with Secret Crush. Now, could Secret Crush be doing dubious things? Very possible. Have you contacted Facebook to let them know? If not, I will do just that, as we’ve had some contact with them.

I hope that you’ll revised your post in some way and, as always, am available to discuss further, etc.

Thanks,

SJS

Steve Stratz

Director of Public Relations

Zango

The following day, I received an e-mail from the security company, Fortinet, asking if they could publish a security advisory on the threat. They mentioned they didn’t think it was necessarily a “worm”, per se, but rather what they call “Spam 2.0”. This brings to question, are we in a new age of Spam? Now, instead of hijacking a person’s e-mail account and sending out spam messages over SMTP e-mail, spammers are now hijacking your Facebook and other social accounts, and posting their links and messages on your walls, and statuses.

The question now becomes, is it still related to the Secret Crush application? I find it hard to believe with the problems they had in the past, and with them posting “totally hooked on the crush calculator” within the user’s status message that they wouldn’t have some involvement, but then again, the spammer could just be using a hijacked application at the same time they are using the hijacked user’s account. As Fortinet mentions, this has been happening on Myspace for quite some time now – it is only recently that we’re starting to see the same on Facebook.

The advantage these social networks have over traditional e-mail to combat spam is that your account requires a password to hijack. If you keep a good alpha-numeric, non-dictionary-based password, spammers can’t exist! You can read more from the Fortinet article here:

http://www.fortiguardcenter.com/advisory/FGA-2008-08.html

Also, PC Magazine’s blog wrote on it recently:

http://blogs.pcmag.com/securitywatch/2008/03/facebook_worm.php

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jessestay

Jesse Stay has been a pioneer in the space of social media marketing since before it was called "social media marketing". Originally a software developer, Jesse built a tool called SocialToo.com which helped brands like Pepsi, Brittany Spears, and MC Hammer grow their social media presence, and before he knew it brands were coming to him for help to grow their presence in very unique ways. His tool was featured on almost every tech blog and even mainstream news sites like New York Times, Techcrunch, and Mashable. Jesse also spent a brief period working FOR Facebook, Inc., helping them to build out their documentation to help companies integrate Facebook Connect into their websites and mobile apps. Jesse took his skills and helped the LDS Church kick off most of its social media programs. While there he helped launch the award-winning "I'm a Mormon" marketing campaign with global reach worldwide in the millions of views and followers. Jesse established new global programs at the Church to further grow its reach amongst both members and non-members of the Church, working with every department of the Church, also including entities like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Brigham Young University. He also helped the Church navigate its voice and presence during the Mitt Romney Presidential campaign due to the significant attention the Church was getting at the time. He established the social media advertising techniques and strategies employed at Deseret Digital Media growing over 20 million fans across their news properties in just 6 months, and was featured on AdWeek for his success. As founder and Principal of Stay N Alive, Jesse has developed very unique techniques in social media advertising to help organizations grow presences, within months on minimal budgets, into hundreds of thousands of highly relevant and engaging fans and followers. He designed and teaches social media advertising at LDS Business College. He has helped grow sales, and has a belief that yes, you CAN measure social! Jesse has been featured as one of 10 entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter (next to Biz Stone and Ev Williams, founders of Twitter) by Entrepreneur magazine. Jesse has written 9 books on the topic of social media marketing and development, including Google+ Marketing For Dummies and Facebook All In One For Dummies, and eats, lives, and drinks social media with a personal combined presence of over 600,000 followers on his personal social profiles.

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