Thursday, January 30, 2014

"I want to add your birthday to my calendar" Scam?

I got an email from a good friend with this request.   I'd recently called her, coincidentally, on her birthday and I apologized for not knowing her birthday after all these years.  So she was just getting mine in return, maybe.

But my big brother antennae went, "One more piece of the puzzle to pull all my info together for the internet info scavengers."  I would pass.

Then I got an email from my friend saying her email had been hacked and she hadn't asked for the information.

I looked to see whether spam sites have identified it.  It seems to be a Facebook App that has gone viral.  Business Insider wrote January 3, 2014:
We asked Facebook why this app persisted, attracting tens of millions of users.
"This app is not in violation of any of our policies, and there aren't enough people marking it as spam for it to trigger our detection systems," a spokesperson told us. "If an individual finds the app to be spammy, they can hide or remove the app stories from their News Feed or block the app."
K-Factor Media cofounder Jing Chen did not respond to a request for comment via her LinkedIn profile.

That' writes that the scam warnings are nonsense:
"This warning circulating virally across Facebook warns users of an apparently malicious application that "retrieves data from all profiles".

The warning is mostly false, clearly written by someone with no understanding of how Facebook Apps work.
At the time of writing there is an application with a similar name spreading across Facebook which is lending credibility to this false message. The application, which goes under the name "I want to add your birthday" or "MyCalendar - Birthdays" is simply an application that posts reminders to Facebook users about upcoming birthdays. In reality the App is totally redundant since Facebook offers an inbuilt service that does that any way, so even though this App is not really that malicious (just spammy) we would still not recommend installing it."
 I look at it this way.  Every time  another bit of personal information gets connected to your name in an insecure place online, it's one more way for any scammer to start gathering what they need to hack into your credit cards, bank accounts, email, etc.  Does that make me safe?  Of course not.  But it's like locking your car door.  A thief would rather steal a car (or from a car) that's unlocked.  As long as others are leaving their virtual doors unlocked, if I don't, I'm a little ahead.  Besides, do you really need to have automated birthday cards sent to you?  Well, I guess in this family-scattered world, some people do.  And others exploit that need.

I got another request today, so I thought it was time to put this up.

1 comment:

  1. This is why I got off FB entirely. Too much information. Too many creeps trolling for information. When an acquaintance started posting my pictures (that he had taken without my knowledge) on my page, I deleted every photo and stopped responding. People are so f***ing worried about the NSA, but they give out personal info every day to who knows how many people. Had to remind my 30 year old DIL NOT to post when they were out of town. My sister was doing that too. Idiots. Might as well put a sign on your lawn: GONE FOR THE WEEKEND,HELP YOURSELF.


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