C Tann-Starr's Outside Blog


Fascinating Facebook Info: "Socialbots" that pose as friends.


Quote #1: "Facebook's privacy settings allow users to shield personal information from public view. But because the socialbots posed as friends, they were able to extract some 46,500 email addresses and 14,500 physical addresses from users' profiles– information that could be used to launch phishing attacks or aid in identity theft."

Quote #2: "Socialbots behave differently to humans that enter Facebook for the first time, in part because they have no real-world friends to connect with, and their random requests lead to an unusually high number of rejections. FIS would be able to use this pattern to recognize and block an attack of socialbots, says Stein. That would put Facebook back on top– if only until hackers release their next innovation."

Quote #3: "But inside Facebook's network it's much more persuasive. "It's easier to exploit trust relationships in online social networks," says Justin Ma, a computer scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, who develops methods to combat email spam."

Read this article for more info...

I guess this is me telling some of you you may want to pay a wee bit more attention to who you are FB friending. I think this is one of the reasons I'm going to stick with checking on the Twitter accounts of peeps making friend requests. I find that people actively conversing on Twitter are usually also pretty active in Facebook. If they're not hanging out being social across several social media accounts I'm now thinking the person is potentially a zombie socialbot instead of a live person (and aint gonna friend ya - LOL).



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Comment balloon 6 commentsC Tann-Starr • October 31 2011 10:12PM


Man oh man. I've got my virus protection, passwords, wariness of strange emails and even a Mac to dissuade unwelcome "visitors." Now I have to watch for this too? 

Posted by Mark Delgado, Benicia and Vallejo, Property Management, rental h (houses for rent, Solano County & Glen Cove) almost 9 years ago

Very interesting, it makes me want to pay more attention. I guess I can't worry about everything. But thanks for taking the time to put this post together.

Posted by Paul Dougherty Associate Real Estate Broker, Trusted, Tested & True. Our Results are Better! (Coach Realtors) almost 9 years ago

Hi Tann,

Thanks for the heads up. Every now and then I get a request from someone I can see NO connection at all. I'm not sure if they landed on me by mistake or something else was going on. For those I do not friend, yet normally others.

Posted by Lynda Eisenmann, Broker-Owner,CRS,CDPE,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co (Preferred Home Brokers) almost 9 years ago

Tann - We need to be very careful on FB. Thank you for sharing quality information on socialbots posing as friends on facebook.

Posted by John Pusa, Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest) almost 9 years ago

Hi C - I like your idea of using Twitter to checkout potential Facebook friends.

Posted by FN LN almost 9 years ago

Marc, Twitter is really great that way. It's almost like reading a digital book with tiny chapters based on running conversations. If there's no dialog going on that's a big red flag tome. :-)

John, we do really have to be very careful with Facebook and all of our social media accounts. I noticed someone opened up a Wordy C profile on a social platform I don't use and I'm working to shut it down.

Lynda, when they have no connection I usually send them a message asking how I know them or how/when/where did we meet. Asking people to refresh your recollection actually works very well. I've friended people who reminded me we were with X,Y, and Z at a business function. I don't always remember people I meet in business groups. Sometimes you have people in common they just didn't get around to friending yet. I have a childhood friend who only has 27 FB friends but we have 225 common friends that are not shown as connected. It's because he rarely uses FB.

Paul, discovering this certainly made me sit up and take notice. :-)

Mark, looks like we have to watch out for everything, eh? Whoda thunk it? (LOL) ;-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 9 years ago

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