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Facebook's Gone Phishing Today With PayPal, eBay & HSBC

In case, you were trying to get through to Mark Zuckerberg today at Facebook, he's taking the day off to go 'phishing.' As if the the major social network in the land didn't have enough problems attending to their 'privacy' issue controversy - they are now saddled with the prestigious honor of ranking 4th in Kaspersky Lab's "Most Popular Phishing Targets" for the first quarter of 2010. 

Kapersky Labs, a developer of secure content management solutions released its latest report on the evolution of spam for QTR1, compiled by company experts Darya Gudkova, Elena Bondarenko and Maria Namestnikova. Facebook coming in fourth just behind HSBC, eBay and PayPal is an unexpected target. According to to report's authors, "this was the first time since we started monitoring these (types) of attacks… that a social networking site has been so prolific."

Kaspersky Labs "Most Popular Phishing Targets"Kaspersky Labs "Most Popular Phishing Targets"
Facebook, as a target in 5.7% of the attacks falls slightly behind HSBC at 7.8% share, eBay at 13.3% and PayPal, the dominant leader at 52.2%. What jumps off the page of this report is Facebook's ranking coming in higher than Google and the IRS. Google ranks fifth on the list of organizations, accounting for 3.1% of the phishing pie, while the IRS attracts 2.2% of attacks. 

Jim BreyerJim BreyerOne hardly doubts that Zuckerberg would have invited Jim Breyer of Accel Partners to join him on his day off today - seeing that the Facebook Board member seems to be included in the 5.7% market share. Yes, even Facebook's board members are not immune to having their Facebook accounts hacked. When last heard, Breyer was recovering from a spam email sent to over 2300 of his network friends.

According to a Mashable report, the message in question came in the form of an event invitation reading, “Would You Like a Facebook Phone Number?” and included an RSVP link.

The phishing scam prompted individuals who clicked on the faulty link to enter their login credentials, which then caused their accounts to be hacked in the same manner.

Jim Breyer spam emailJim Breyer spam email
No doubt both Zuckerberg and Breyer would prefer that this incident slip quietly out of the news (no such luck). According to PEHUB - "It's more than an embarrassment for the company, which only has just three other board members, including CEO Zuckerberg, investor-entrepreneur Marc Andreessen and Peter Thiel of Clarium Capital and Founders Fund."

The real irony should not be lost here, as widespread, growing distrust and resentment builds amongst followers, the blogosphere and even the federal government. With Facebook's self-serving efforts to socialize the Web with their Open Graph, the network is attempting to convert users's preferences and demographics into public data where ultimately Facebook will capitalize on through advertising and other sponsorship deals.

If being 'open' and 'transparent' means Facebook is putting its members at risk through phishing and spam hacking schemes like the ones described here, while its "phishing" market share numbers continue to climb, they just might seeing a direct correlation to their user-base numbers declining (see "Facebook Exodus - Let My People Go!")

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Ron Callari
Social Media Trends
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