Sophos flags Facebook 'dislike button' scam

Many Facebook members have voiced a desire for an official "dislike" button, something scammers are now exploiting with a rogue application that spams friends.

Security firm Sophos has highlighted yet another scam that's zipping around Facebook in the form of a third-party application, this one spreading in the form of links claiming to be from friends that encourage members to install a Facebook "dislike button."

Sophos wrote about the scam in a blog post Monday, pointing out that a link to it tends to appear in wall posts that appear to be from the user's friends ("I just got the Dislike button, so now I can dislike all of your dumb posts lol!!") but which are actually automated messages from friends who have already been duped. The scam's purpose is to force users to complete a survey contained in the application, a bit of trickery that has already been known to be perpetuated through scam links like "Justin Bieber trying to flirt" and "Anaconda coughs up a hippo," the two of which presumably would be enticing to rather different demographics of Facebook users.

As Facebook's surging membership numbers have blazed past 500 million around the world, its channels of fast social connection and messaging have become a prime target for scammers and viruses . This one's particularly nasty because a "dislike button," offering some kind of counterpoint to Facebook's own "like" button , is something that many members have been clamoring for.

Beyond tricking a user into completing a survey, and hence gaining access to your profile and the ability to spam your friends, there doesn't appear to be much about the scam that's dangerous. Eventually, after the user completes the survey, it does redirect to FaceMod, the maker of a Facebook-based "dislike" button that takes the form of a Firefox browser plug-in. Sophos points out that the scam does not appear to have any direct connection to FaceMod.

"If you really want to try out FaceMod's add-on (and note - we're not endorsing it, and haven't verified if it works or not), get it direct from the Firefox Add-ons Web page, not by giving a rogue application permission to access your Facebook profile," the Sophos post by analyst Graham Cluley read.

About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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