Posts Tagged ‘scam’

I Just Got Facebook Black

March 20th, 2013

I’ve seen half a dozen of these in my Facebook timeline now…

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A user (usually one I don’t know) posts an image and tags dozens of people, some of whom I do know, so the image shows up on my timeline as one of my friends was tagged. The user will then post a couple of comments with links so we can all get Facebook Black (how exciting!)

It’s clearly not real, but it sort of, maybe, looks a bit real. When I first saw it I did a little Googling and found a few references to the scam from late 2012 and slightly earlier in 2013, but they seem to be a little out of date and describe a slightly different approach.

The scam now seems to be based around a Chrome extension. If you follow the link it will send you to a Facebook Application which will then redirect your to and external website (the last few times I’ve looked it’s ended up at phototart.com) where you will be prompted to install a Chrome extension.

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Installing the Chrome extension is a bad idea. I’m unsure exactly what happens after this point because, frankly, I haven’t installed the extension. It obviously makes a Facebook post on your behalf, and could potentially do many many other unpleasant things.

Each time I’ve seen it, the Facebook application has been quite new (often created in the last 20 minutes) and I’ve seen at least two different Chrome Extensions. Therefore it appears that the creators of this particular scam are playing a cat-and-mouse game with Facebook and Google. It’s frustrating really that neither company has a better oversight process for their application platforms.

If you’ve been unfortunate enough to be hit with this scam, or have a friend who has, then you should immediately check your Facebook Apps settings and remove any suspicious or unrecognised apps. Also remove any suspicious Chrome extensions (you can type chrome://extensions in the address bar to do that) – the ones I’ve seen have had names like “Install Black”

It looks likely that this only (currently) affects Chrome users as following the link from Firefox brings up a notification window styled to look like Facebook which informs you that you’re a winner (never a good sign online, you’re not a winner). Clicking any of the links from there will take you down the path of endless online survey scams. Just don’t do it.

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