Facebook and state sue alleged clickjacking spammer
Published: 27th Jan 2012 17:05:11
Facebook is suing a marketing firm, accusing it of "spreading spam through misleading and deceptive tactics".
Adscend Media is alleged to have carried out "clickjacking".
The practice involves placing posts on the social network which include code that causes the links to appear on the users' homepages as a "liked" item without their permission. The links are designed to take users to other sites.
Ascend Media has not commented.
Facebook likened its security efforts to an "arms race" and said that it was committed to pursuing "bad actors".
"Facebook's security professionals have made tremendous strides against this particular form of attack and we are intent on eradicating it completely," said Craig Clark, the firm's lead litigation counsel.
"We will continue to use all tools at our disposal to ensure that scammers do not profit from misusing Facebook's services."
Washington State also filed a related lawsuit. Its lawyers said that they believed that this was the first time any state had gone to court to combat spam on the social network.
"We don't 'like' schemes that illegally trick Facebook users into giving up personal information or paying for unwanted subscription services through spam," said the state's attorney general, Rob McKenna.
Facebook has posted an article about the case in which it explained that it believed the "scam" had worked by exploiting a vulnerability in people's internet browsers that allowed its 'Like' button to be hidden.
"Once the 'Like' button is made invisible, scammers can overlay pictures and other content, to trick the user to click on the invisible 'Like' button," it said.
"First, Facebook users are encouraged to click the 'Like' button on the scammers' Facebook Pages, which then alerts their friends to the existence of the page. Then they are told that they cannot access the content unless they complete an online survey or advertising offer."
It said one case had involved a link promising to show a man who had taken a picture of his face every day over eight years.
Facebook said that the content often had not existed, and users had been directed to third-party sites. It alleged that "the scammers receive money for each misdirected user".
Washington State's attorney general said that Adscend Media had earned as much $1.2m (£766,000) a month from the practice.
Adscend Media did not respond to requests for comment.
Facebook said that less than 4% of the content shared on its site was currently spam.
The internet security firm, Sophos, acknowledged that the network was trying to combat the problem, but suggested further steps should be taken.
"Facebook tried to introduce anti-clickjacking technology to fight the problem, but it was never entirely satisfactory," said the Sophos's senior technology consultant Graham Cluley.
"What would have been good would have been if Facebook had introduced a 'confirmation' dialog every time a user 'likes' a page on a third-party website. That way, the clickjackers would have been able to trick you into clicking like but you would still have had to confirm that you really wanted to share the message with your online friends.
"In the run-up to IPO [initial public offering], we're sure to see Facebook doing more to present itself as company that is fighting security threats like this."
This is the second time this month that Facebook has accused a group of illegal activity on its site. Last week it named several Russia-based suspects who it said were responsible for a malware attack known as the "Koobface worm".
Multiple reports suggest that the network may float its stock within the next four months. Bloomberg says the firm may sell a minority stake for $10bn, valuing the firm at 10 times the price.
At 22:04:40 in EnglandA Nottinghamshire man had a five-hour wait for an ambulance in the lead up to his death, an inquest was told.
At 22:04:25 in PoliticsA future Labour government would call an in/out referendum on the UK's membership of the EU - but only if it was being asked to transfer more powers to Brussels, Ed Miliband has said.
At 21:59:33 in WorldBomb disposal experts in north-western Pakistan are suffering a heavy death toll as they counter an intense bombing campaign by Islamist militants. M Ilyas Khan reports from Peshawar on the men who lost their lives in the struggle to defuse thousands of bombs planted throughout the region.
At 21:45:30 in WorldA student has been killed in clashes between police and protesters at Khartoum University in Sudan.
At 21:45:18 in EnglandVolunteers are helping toads cross a Lincolnshire road safely as they come out of hibernation and head to their breeding ground.
At 21:43:05 in SportScottish Paralympic gold medallist Aileen McGlynn is determined to prove her worth at the Commonwealth Games having lost her UK Lottery funding.
At 21:39:34 in SportPegasus retained their Premier League crown by coming from behind to beat rivals Ards 5-3 in Tuesday night's title decider at Ards Leisure Centre.
At 21:39:29 in BusinessNew York's financial regulator has called on firms to submit proposals to set up "regulated" exchanges for digital currencies like Bitcoin.
At 21:33:44 in EnglandA police officer has died following a crash during a cycle race in Portsmouth.
At 21:26:31 in WalesA golden eagle has been spotted by a group of mountain bike enthusiasts on Llanllwni Mountain in Carmarthenshire.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Facebook and state sue alleged clickjacking spammer [Online] (Updated 27th Jan 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/221447/Facebook-and-state-sue-alleged-clickjacking-spammer [Accessed 11th Mar 2014]
News In Other Categories
New York's financial regulator has called on firms to submit proposals to set up "regulated" exchanges for digital currencies like Bitcoin.
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
There has been a sixth death at a Belfast hospital where treatment delays could have been a contributing cause of death, the BBC has learned.
Scottish Paralympic gold medallist Aileen McGlynn is determined to prove her worth at the Commonwealth Games having lost her UK Lottery funding.
A future Labour government would call an in/out referendum on the UK's membership of the EU - but only if it was being asked to transfer more powers to Brussels, Ed Miliband has said.
MPs have voted through a controversial measure that gives England's health secretary sweeping powers to close local hospitals, even if they are performing well.