How Spammy Facebook Scams Still Manage to Claim Millions of Victims

2011-08-15T16:32:00
ID WEBSENSE-STUDY-CHARTS-LENGTH-BREADTH-FACEBOOK-SCAMS-081511/75541
Type threatpost
Reporter Chris Brook
Modified 2013-04-17T16:33:59

Description

Facebook scamAs Facebook scams continue to loom and infiltrate news feeds, web security firm Websense has conducted a study to tabulate just how far these campaigns stretch. The news isn’t encouraging, with scams on Facebook estimated to reach more than a million users in a matter of days.

According to a Websense study of two recent Facebook scams, upwards to 1700 Facebook users interacted with the scam every few seconds during each campaigns’ peak days. A July scam based on malicious Wall posts took just over a week to hit peak numbers while a second in August took only two days, according to a post on Websense’s Security Labs blog.

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In the August scam documented by Websense, malicious links posted on a users Facebook Wall with suggestive titles pointed users to a scam survey. Using an estimated average of 130 Facebook friends per user, Websense calculated that the survey may have reached approximately 823,680 people at its peak. A Web site associated with the scam saw roughly 1,267,200 visitors. After the survey, if one in two users shared the survey on their Facebook wall, it’d be seen by a whopping 633,600 people.

Of course, many users delete the phony link from their profile at some point. But even if 99% of users caught up in the scam delete it, thousands (6,336 to be exact) might continue to share the malicious links, giving social networking scams a long tail.

Facebook scams like the one Websense investigated here show no sign of slowing down and persistently cater themselves around timely news events like the deaths of Amy Winehouse and Osama bin Laden.