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  • (01. January 2010., 10:27:49)


Author Topic: Porn spam on social networking sites overtaking taking porn email  (Read 4717 times)

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    • - Samker's Computer Forum

Porn spammers are trying to get some lovin' on Twitter and other social networking sites.

In the last year, email porn spam has been dropping as hackers and the adult industry move more and more to the increasingly popular sites, say web security companies.

On Twitter, it begins with a notice that someone you've never heard of is following you. You check them out and may find a picture of a naked woman in an interesting position whose tweets consist of links to more naughty pictures.

Some are less explicit but, in general, the porn industry isn't known for subtlety.

"They're always using the big words, they're always using the flashing lights," said Alexandru Catalin Cosoi of Romanian-based BitDefender. "That's their business."

He estimates that as many as 15 per cent of tweets are porn spam, about 10 per cent of traffic on MySpace and seven per cent on Facebook.

The problem isn't new - he notes that porn spam in some form has been around for more than a decade - but the targets are more varied.

The Internet telecom service Skype has had porn spam on its instant messaging service with users asking for chats with "sexy girls." Twitter had a spike in porn spam recently and had another last spring.

The idea can be to do more than just get customers for Internet porn.

"Really, it's used to garner or capture a lot of users and steal their data," Fiaaz Walji said from Ottawa, where he works for the international web security company Websense.

Clicking on a video, for example, with a message saying you have to update your flashplayer to watch it, can lead to malicious software being downloaded.

"The malware could be activated at that very moment or it could sit dormant on your computer until it gets activated by a bot network of some sort, or it could get activated by key words," said Walji, country manager for Canada.

Half of the webpages that link to sex sites serve up malicious content, he said.

"There's always going to be a malware that uses spam, especially porn," said Cosoi, a senior antispam and antiphishing researcher based in Bucharest, although he added that some is harmless and designed just to find customers for adult websites.

"They're not looking to infect a guy with a virus, malware trojans. They actually have a business and they are using spam to promote their business."

But RCMP Cpl. Louis Robertson advises that all porn spam be deleted without being opened.

"It will always exist, unfortunately," said Robertson, who works with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre-Phonebusters in North Bay, Ont.

He said consumers should also be aware of an increase in so-called online "blackmail scams" where consumers receive demands for money from contacts on social networking sites.

The scammers will threaten to have "embarrassing or damaging" information including personal details or photos posted online unless the money demanded is paid, said Robertson, who's in charge of criminal intelligence.

Twitter tells its users to block spammers' accounts or to send it a direct message with the user names of spammers and it will investigate. Twitter's rules prohibit "obscene or pornographic images" in either profile pictures or user background.

Bridget Stirling of the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton said social networking sites' policies are a good start but more monitoring is needed.

"Unfortunately, it does put the responsibility on somebody to report that, and they can't report that until they've obviously been exposed to it," said Stirling, public educator at the centre.

Such content also could be upsetting for those who have been sexually assaulted, she added.

"It certainly could have an impact on a survivor if they came across it."

Despite the efforts of Twitter's staff, porn spammers have been slipping through and there are regular tweets complaining about "twammers."

"If you're going to spam me with porn, at least have the decency to airbrush out your stretch marks," says one fed up Twitter user.


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