Apple's Ping dinged by spam

The new iTunes-based social network is getting hit by comment spam since Apple apparently left it vulnerable through a lack of spam- or URL- filtering, according to Sophos.

Apple's Ping getting hit by comment spam.
Apple's Ping getting hit by comment spam. Lance Whitney/CNET

Apple's new social media service, Ping, is already getting hit by a barrage of comment spam.

The Ping network integrates with iTunes 10 to let you follow your favorite artists and swap comments with other fans. But it took less than 24 hours for the comments sections to be swamped by phony offers for free iPhones and other hot gadgets, according to a Thursday blog from security vendor Sophos.

Sophos expressed bemusement that although it's no secret that blogs and forums have become the new playing ground for spammers and scammers, Apple apparently has set up no spam or URL filtering in Ping, leaving the service wide open to junk comments.

Apple has implemented some degree of security in Ping--the service won't display profile photos until they're approved by the company--and is filtering for offensive content as well, notes Sophos, so the company should be able to kick in a spam filter. But spammers can also easily create fake accounts for Ping since the service requires no credit card or other ID to join.

Of course, comment spam has been swamping other social networks and blog sites for years. The spam messages hitting Ping are virtually the same ones that Sophos found have targeted Facebook, Google, and Twitter. These "survey" scams typically promise a free iPhone, iPad, or iPod in exchange for filling out a bogus online questionaire.

Apple was not immediately available for comment.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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