Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Likejacking"

Likejacking seems to have become one of the biggest social engineering scams in the past year. The term "likejacking," which is when a person is tricked into posting a site link they don't actually like, caught on in mid-2010.

I was the victim of likejacking a few months ago. On my news feed I saw a friend post a link to a video and say, "This is the funniest thing I've seen in a long time! Had me in tears," so naturally, I click on it! It was supposed to be some outtake Harry Potter video, can you blame me? It takes me to what looks like a Facebook application, and without reading the details I simply hit "accept." I unknowingly allowed this third party to post things all over my Facebook. It reposted the exact same message I saw my friend post as my status! Additionally, it randomly selected several of my friends and posted the link directly on their walls, as if it had come directly from me. My cousin sent me a message to warn me because she had recently received the same message from other friends and knew it was a scam. Not long after I noticed the same scam except this time it was an application that claimed to allow you to see your first Facebook status update ever. While I saw several friends give in to that, I knew better.

While most of these have been harmless, some are quite alarming. A recent likejacking scam claims to have a link to a girl committing suicide on webcam. The message reads:
"Jessy, 22 yrs Girl from Miami committed Suicide before a Cam after breakup. First time a Live suicide death video of true lovers in the history on a Cam"

As with the scam I experienced, clicking on the link takes users to a page that intentionally tricks them into re-posting the message and link. This scammer didn't pick something funny to share, they picked something that would be horrific to watch, but obviously not horrible enough that people ignored the message. Suicide is one of those dark things that is intrinsically mystifying and interesting. It's slightly disturbing that so many people would want to see a video of a person committing suicide, but I personally love to read lists of unusual deaths (like the woman who died trying to break into her boyfriend's house via chimney), and I know that suicide stories are one of those things for other people. It reminds me of the movie Untraceable where the killer has a victim on a webcam and the more people that tune in to watch, the faster the person will die. Though people know the person is dying, people can't help but log in just for a moment to see for themselves. This is probably how so many people were tricked by the recent scam.

I guess users, including myself, should take a little more time reading Facebook and Twitter application agreements before clicking, "I Accept."

Do you think it's disturbing that people would want to see someone commit suicide on webcam?

Sources:
Wikipedia
ZDNet

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