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Facebook has connected millions of people around the world. The social connector has become not only a medium for sharing but also a platform for third parties to nurture their businesses based on applications and games. Facebook pages, in addition, lets its users advertise their businesses among folks across the globe. Facebook pages (sponsored stories and ads) have become one of the best ways to spread the word about a business.
Popularity has its own side effects. The useful Facebook pages and applications have been misused by spammers, and the innocent public has to suffer. We came across a Facebook Page scam that was misusing the static html: iframe tabs to trick users.
The spammer creates a Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Innovative-i-Phone-5-Testers/312680162106831?notif_t=fbpage_fan_invite
When a user comes across this page, “Loading” is displayed and then the page redirects to a pop-up. The redirection here is done using Facebook static html: iframe tabs. This is a useful tool that lets Facebook application developers build iframe tabs for pages.
The network traffic suggests www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=190322544333196
A useful Facebook application is being used here for malicious purposes by the spammer.
It is evident from the code (see Image1) that a redirection is happening to ‘heroku.com’ using http POST method. Spammers are using the domain, adding a subdirectory, ‘statichtmlapp.heroku.com’ and then further redirection is happening (see Image2).
Like ‘heroku.com,’ ‘statichtmlapp.com’ is also compromised and being used for further redirection to pop-ups, adding a subdirectory ‘raw.statichtmlapp.com’ and here again, encrypted information is sent to a compromised server using http POST method.
See Image3 for initial pop-up that is brought using the domains (fuwuzetr.info, utepuppy.com, wuizforcash.com, etc.)
If you are not from the U.S., the pop-up will further redirect you to another pop-up specifically for you (see Image4).
Eventually, the user is led to an ad page that looks something similar to Image5.
If you are not from the U.S., then you are led to an ad page that looks similar to Image6. It strengthens the idea that the spammer is using local servers based on territory to render ad pages.
The page is showing as if you are the luckiest person on earth. That is when the spammers ask for personally identifiable information, such as your e-mail address, zip code, mobile number, and other basic information.
The notable thing here is that the spammer is navigating pages using the single iframe URL.
Intention of attack
I have not experienced anything wrong with my Facebook account after observing the spam page. However, I’m concerned about the encrypted data that was sent to compromised servers. The user’s e-mail address and mobile numbers could also be used for future spamming.
The type of spam is a warning sign: Facebook users and third-party application developers alike must be on the lookout for similar pages used to trick innocent users.
Music – the true sense of sharing
Millions of people have been availing the services of social giant, Facebook, to connect and share with others across the globe. Facebook has connected people through features such as wall updates, photos, videos, chat, etc. These features have helped folks make connections worldwide, and eventually, build up a huge network of friends. Although users receive several notifications from others commenting and liking their posts, photos, videos, etc., it never really has created a sense of “closeness” among people.
One may find many friends available to chat online, but then why is it that they rarely, if ever, chat? It could be that they have nothing to say or don’t really know each other (just because you’re “Facebook friends” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re “friends friends,” right?).
Perhaps Facebook has realized that, even though they’re providing a platform for which to connect and share, it isn’t enough to actually bring people closer together emotionally. Additional effort is needed to truly connect people on an emotional level, which opens up whole new ballgame for sharing. And what could be more powerful than music.
Music evokes a range of emotions – from pain to euphoria. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the US, Europe, India, Asia, Australia…the world over loves music and oftentimes relies on it to lift one’s spirits when feeling down or in need of that adrenalin rush just before a sporting event, an important exam, or before proposing to your sweetheart. It’s essentially a medium through which to share your innermost feelings – a more powerful and purer type of “sharing” than, say, the sharing of forced-smile photos or contrived/stolen wall updates.
Music is from the heart and represents Facebook’s next foray into the next dimension of sharing. It could very well end up being an avenue for users to spend even more time on Facebook.
Partial rollout of Facebook Music
Users can find the “Music” tab under the “Apps” category on the home page or can be found here.
The page lists a number of trending albums. The user can view artist names, album titles, and third-party music providers (e.g., Spotify, MySpace, Saavn). When a user clicks on a song, a pop-up window appears that prompts the user to add the specific provider’s app, after which the user is directed to that provider’s site. And because the pop-up here is not really a Facebook application, but rather, a redirection to a third-party page, it is not asking for any user information like other Facebook applications.
This partial rollout confirms that Facebook will not directly host or stream any music content and that it will rely on third-party providers to do so. Facebook’s plan is to become a platform for music content in the same way it’s a platform for apps and games. This contrasts with Google and Apple’s strategies of hosting music on their own servers.
Whispers are circulating that Facebook might go beyond Music. For instance, Netflix could stream movies through Facebook or there could be an application that uploads music to the cloud. The possibilities are endless.
Right now, though, I’m just anxiously awaiting the complete rollout of Facebook Music so that I can listen to music with my friends and share real emotions.
Posted in Social Networking on December 21, 2011
Before analyzing that question, let’s ponder the daily routine of a Facebook addict. This weekend, I happened to meet such an addict who works in a financial institution. He described his daily routine to me. I found that Facebook has become an integral part of his life. Verbatim from his own lips:
“I wake up at around 8am. At first, I switch on my laptop next to my pillow, fire it up, and check my Facebook account, expecting to be greeted with some new notifications (although I know the chances of new notifications are low given that I just checked my account six hours before).
I reach my office at around 11am (flex hours!). Then, I check my work email and soon thereafter, I’m logging on to my Facebook account to see what my friends have been sharing. I leave the Facebook page open in a tab to see if any new messages or notifications come in during the day. I never forget to scroll through the page, and the same phenomenon is repeated several times a day until I leave the office.
I’m normally back home around 9pm. And, you won’t believe that the very first thing I do is to turn on my laptop and check my Facebook account, even before removing my shoes.”
The addict discloses that this has been his life for the past year. And, I assume that the same story is repeated millions of times over for Facebook users across the globe.
After my chat with the addict, I decided to seek an answer to the very question of “Why are people so addicted to Facebook?”
I started with a “whopping” sample size of seven persons: myself (an addict in the making) and six volunteers (better to call them as FB addicts). Below is a summary of our responses and may shed some light on our question.
1) They’re happy to have a platform that never lets them feel alone (though they feel the bitter loneliness in spite of the hundred of friends they have on Facebook). They like to be connected to the world, i.e., to the people they know, randomly met somewhere and then became friends (or maybe “Facebook friends”), admirers (hello, ladies). Also, at the same time, they have a chance to connect to people they might know or would be happy to know, at least in a Facebook sense.
2) The three icons in the upper left-hand corner of a Facebook page (Friend requests, Messages, and Notifications) is a magnet of attention. Most of the respondents admitted that the middle one (Messages) was the biggest source of their obsession, followed by friend requests, and then notifications.
3) An addict expresses his addiction in philosophically: “I like to put whatever I have in my mind in FB and perceive a divine satisfaction to see people liking and commenting on my post, regardless if the post involved misfortune or nonsense.” He further exclaims, in regard to Likes and Comments, “I can feel the emotions of people and their care for my post.” This user seems very glad that Facebook also allows users to choose their own target audience. He further adds whenever he feels bored, he scrolls the Facebook timeline and enjoys reading the posts and comments by him and his loved ones.
4) Another user seems fascinated by the Facebook Chat feature. She claims that I can always find someone to chat with, so you should never feel bored or alone.
5) One addict admits that he is a big fan of Facebook and loves to dabble with each of the Facebook features and looks forward with anticipation any new upcoming features. He simply says, “Their innovations keep me hooked.”
6) Facebook has become an information hub, weaving in real-time entertainment at the same time. Besides, user anecdotes are available in the form of “Notes” as well as birthday reminders and marriage invitations via “Events.” An all-in-one-place tool that also offers millions of applications for its users – a boredom-killing, social connector.
Hearing all their experiences (and mine too), I hope we’ve got a compelling answer to our question.
OMG! I’m late logging in to my Facebook account!
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