Email Scams Now Hit Facebook Messaging

launched their new Facebook messaging service with fanfare saying that it would be a great way to communicate with people, with less spam. However, it looks like they still have quite a lot of work to do with fighting spam in Facebook Messaging.

According to a Business Insider writer, his Facebook Email account has already received a spam message where the sender said that he had won some money and in order to get it, he would have to send some personal details along. Such type of spam messages are very common with regular email and are usually marked as spam by services such as and Hotmail.

facebook_email_messaging_spam

However, Facebook messaging is yet to encounter such messages and will have to filter such messages out and mark it as scam. Facebook Email/Messaging is yet in its infancy and not widely used, so they still have a lot of time on hands before a huge number of users begin to use.

Time to start polishing the rough edges then.. I mean spam filters to track such common spam messages. No?

How To Find Spam Posts Filtered by Facebook On Fan Pages

Earlier today I wrote a post about a new feature called Spam Filter for Facebook Fan Pages, which would automatically filter spam posts based on Facebook’s own criteria and also based on how you Flag content.

Facebook Spam Posts on Fan Page

However, the Spam posts are not visible directly when you visit the fan page. In order to view posts which are marked as Spam in your Facebook fan page. Visit the fan page and click on the "Options" link under the tabs and then click on the "Spam" link to view the posts marked as Spam by Facebook.

Facebook Adds Spam Filter for Pages

I love the concept of fan pages since they allow brands, websites and people to connect with their fans through one of the biggest social networking website in the world. However, managing a fan page is a nightmare specially when you allow anyone to post to your wall.

Facebook Fan Page Spam Filter

In my experience of managing the Techie Buzz Fan Page (psst – we have 3000 fans, become one if you aren’t alreadySmile). I have seen a lot of posts which are spam and have been manually removing them by deleting them from the wall. This process is tedious because of the amount of posts I have to delete.

But it looks like Facebook has finally begun to understand the problems fan page admins are facing with the introduction of a new Spam Filter for Pages. According to the FAQ about Spam filter, Facebook says:

Facebook is now helping Page admins ensure that the most valuable content posted by users on their Page wall is more visible to anyone viewing the Page. We are now offering automatic content filtering on Page walls that will ensure that posts soliciting spam are removed from public view as well as ensure that posts containing good content remain more visible.

So go ahead and check your fan page, maybe you would see much lesser spam now and will be able to manage it with ease.

Another Twitter IQ DM Spam Underway?

Quite sometime back was under a IQ test DM spam where tons of users were affected. It looks like a similar IQ test DM spam is affecting users.

twitter_iq_test_dm_spam

The IQ spam may arise when users click on the direct messages and decide to take the test resulting in users sending out direct messages to their friends without even knowing it. In the past 24 hours I have received 10 such messages from my friends, which goes on to show that it is affecting quite a lot of people.

If you are not sure whether you have been affected or not, go to your direct messages sent Inbox to see the messages that have been sent by you. In addition to that, also visit your connections page (click this link) and revoke access to any apps that you do not trust.

As always, tweet about this post to let your friends know about this Twitter IQ Spam problem Smile.

90% of Google Buzz is Spam, the Rest 10% Are Just Lone Bees

Google buzz fell flat after 10 weeks of its launch. The current state of Google Buzz is such that there are fewer people using it, more of them leaving it and even fewer bothering to try it out. Google Buzz had initial problems with exposing contact lists and probably, this has taken a toll on the awesome tool launched by Google.

Postrank blog writes,

we were really excited about the buzz around Google Buzz (pardon the pun), as it meant more social engagement data that we could integrate into our system. Which we did. PostRank now tracks all of the public Buzz feeds. However, after doing some careful data analysis, the quality of the Buzz feeds is, well, questionable.

Google Buzz has around 60% of its content coming from Twitter and almost 27% of it is from automated RSS feeds. That leaves a mere 11% of content which is purely typed in by the user. These statistics show that Buzz is losing out. This makes the Buzz it button on websites useless as there is no-one to buzz the topic. It is only going into the Buzz stream one-time.

Though in my opinion, it is too early to call this service a flop. Google has integrated this service into Gmail and if done right, it has a huge potential. It is powerful enough to thrive in a world of Twitter and Facebook which are its direct competitors. 10% of original user generated content in 10 weeks cannot be called bad if not impressive enough.

India 2nd Largest Contributor Towards Internet Spam

India is no doubt a great technology hub, but along with that it also has a dubious distinction of being the second largest contributor towards internet spam.

India Spam Messages Share in Jan and Feb 2010

In a recent report released by Panda Security, which analyzed over 5 million spam messages generated in January and February 2010, Brazil, India, Korea, Vietnam and USA were the 5 biggest culprits for generating the spam messages. Brazil accounted for 13.76% of the spam messages, followed by India with 10.98% spam messages.

The study further said that over 1 million IP addresses were used to send out the email messages, with an average of 5 messages per IP. Almost 86000 Indian IP addresses were used to send out the spam messages.

Among cities Seoul, Korea was the worst offender followed by Hanoi. In India, New Delhi (which was 3rd overall) came before Bombay and Hyderabad. These cities have a large internet penetration.

Being the 2nd largest contributor towards span is definitely a crown India would like to shed, however, curtailing spam is not easy considering that there are any strict cyberlaws in India with regards to email messages and spam.

It would be good if India could implement a CAN-SPAM Act which is widely used in the US, and fine users for sending out unsolicited emails.

Google Groups Complies With CAN-SPAM FCC Policy

Out here at Techie Buzz, we have been using Google Groups to communicate a lot within the team, however, quite recently Google Groups started adding a message to the footer of the first message sent out to subscribed email addresses, which is similar to the one below.

To unsubscribe from this group, send email to groupname+unsubscribegooglegroups.com or reply to this email with the words “REMOVE ME” as the subject.

The new addition is most probably an introduction to comply with the FCC Spam policy, which mandates companies/corporations to add a unsubscribe link or notice to the bottom of every email which is sent out by them.

If users receive mass-mailers and do not see an unsubscribe link, they can report the company or email to FCC at their CAN-SPAM website, which will then take due action and fine the said company.

Google Groups seems to have been complying with the unsubscribe policy for the past few days, but it looks like their team did it in an hurry since they messed up the Grammar in the unsubscribe notice. The text should have been “send an email”.

Did the FCC rap you too hard, or was it just something your spell/grammar checker missed out on? By the way, we do have a list of several online grammar and readability checkers which could come in handy.

New Site Hacked Notifications From Google Webmaster Tools

In a announcement that sounded sweet to my ears, Google Webmaster team has decided to send out messages about hacked or spammy websites to webmasters through Google Webmaster Tools.

Starting this month, Google Webmaster Tools will notify webmasters of potential issues that have detected on websites, including:

  • Spammy or abused user-generated content
  • Abused forum pages or egregious amounts of comment spam
  • Suspected hacking

These notifications can come as a blessing in disguise as not many users are usually aware of infections until Google decides to temporarily remove all the items of a website from the search results.

However, now once a user receives a notification they can address the issues and get rid of the infections immediately, rather than having to send out a consideration request to the Google webmaster team. A sample notification message for compromised websites will look like the image below.

Suspected Hacking Message from Google Webmaster

Bonus Tip

Users can get their Google Webmaster Tools messages delivered to their email address, so that you will get instant updates, rather than having to visit the webmaster console to check your messages.

To receive your webmaster message center notification to your email address, follow the steps given below.

Step 1: Login to Google Webmaster Tools and go to your dashboard.

Forward Google Webmaster Messages

Step 2: In the message section, select Forward to email address, from the dropdown list in the right hand side, and select the language you want to receive your messages in.

That’s it, the next time you receive a new message in your webmaster message center, it will also be forwarded to your email address so that you can check it out without having to visit the webmaster console.

Another Twitter DM Spam Evolves, This Time It’s Horny

Oh My God, before we even came out of a really bad Twitter Phishing scam, we have another one back on our backside. However, this time it is not phishing though, but, it is definitely horny and asking for a chat.

Twitter Horny DM Spam

Earlier in the day, I was alerted by Sathya about this, but I did not heed much into it, but I then received the above message from one of my friends. Now I would not be surprised, but the person in question is a male.

I did a bit of research but was not able to find the origination of this DM spam, however, if you receive this message tell the person who sent you about it and alert them to change their password immediately.

This is definitely a bad thing for , controlling spam is not easy, but you have to do it no matter what. I am now awaiting the next bout of Spam to hit my inbox.

I will update this post as and when I come across more information about the origination of this DM spam, stay tuned.

Using "email AT domain Dot com" Makes Spammers Job Easier

We are all afraid of our email addresses being harvested and being used to send us spam. To overcome that fear, some bright person (who I don’t know) came up with an idea to use “email AT domain DOT com”, this essentially thwarted a spammer’s regex attack to harvest email address which were written as [email protected].

email_spam

However, spammers have gotten smarter, and using the above idea has gotten to be more dangerous than using your actual email address. Here is a very startling reason why, thanks to chris@localhost.

Search engines don’t index special characters, so an email of the form [email protected] protected from this sort of discovery.   The basic trouble is email AT domain DOT comis completely indexed by search engines, and its unique enough that whenever you see at domain dot com, you know its part of an email address.

So, rest assured if you continue to use this method to “protect” your email address, you might very well be saying hello to new spammers. Why? A simple Google query can give spammers access to at-least 1000 or more email addresses, and most spammers are usually good at writing decent regex to harvest emails.

How to Avoid Spammers and Still Share Your Email Address

Well, if you are already afraid of sharing your email address in public, let me tell you that there are several more ways in which you can actually share your email id online without having to worry about spammers.

Here are few ways in which you can safely share your email address online.

  1. Share your email address with reCAPTCHA Mailhide – One of the most effective ways (yet not foolproof) to put a halt to spamming is using a CAPTCHA. With the help of reCAPTCHA Mailhide, users will have to fill in a CAPTCHA before they can see your email address.
  2. Using Anonymous or Temporary Email IDs – Another efficient way of keeping away from spammers is to make the use of anon or temporary email IDs which cannot be linked back to your original account. If you think an anon ID is being spammed, simply delete it and your email will remain safe from spam.
  3. Email Obscurification – A good way to hide your email address on webpages is to obscure the actual email address and hide it behind a set of illegible code. This service provides a good way to obscure your email address using JavaScript.
  4. Using Images to Share Email – Another good way (yet not foolproof) of sharing your email address is to create an image with your email address and share it with others. You will find several online services to create images with your email address, Safe Mail is a good place to start out at.

Summarizing

The problem with technology is that everyone has access to it, including the spammers. It is always good to mix and match your security measures, rather than create a pattern.

Email spam filters are also getting powerful day by day, however, I must admit that they are too not always accurate and might let through spam or throw up false-positives.

Thanks for the tip Nischal Shetty