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Sunday, May 15, 2011

First Facebook Faux Pas

     Have you ever done something you knew was bad, just to see what the outcome would be?  I seem to be one of those plagued with this ailment.  But, as it seems, only when it comes to computers.
     I received a post on my wall the day before last that seemed ridiculously fishy.  Curious about that, I went to the wall of the friend that had left me the post, and decided that this post was generated by a Facebook virus.  Feeling curios, I booted up a virtual machine of Windows XP and went to the page of the place that post lead me too.  I followed the social engineering instructions on this new Facebook wall, knowing quite well this was a set up.  (This particular one was about getting to track people "creeping" you Facebook page.)  After following the pages instructions so I could "find out who was viewing my facebook page", I was re-directed to a page that was talking about taking surveys to win a free iPad 2.  Having sated my curiosity and feeling bored with this game now, I exited out of Windows XP.
     I then noticed that my account had sent every one of my friends the exact same message my friend's account had sent me.  Not really caring much about my Facebook account, I shrugged, deleted the post from the most immediate friends on my list, and went to bed.
     The next morning, my e-mail was flooded with comment notifications about postings from friends.  All of these posts were from people concerned my Facebook was infected and warning me to get it fixed.  I then realized I had committed my first Facebook faux pas, I had clicked on something that lead to a potential security hole for my whole group of friends.
     I was mildly surprised at the reaction of my small community of friends.  Their response was quick and decisive, full of advice on how to fix my dilemma, and parental style warnings not to click on things I don't know where they'll lead.  The chance that I might have caused a security leak was a serious ordeal.
     Needless to say I'll be more careful next time, and set up an account specifically for virus hunting.  This experience opened my eyes as to how seriously people take their Facebook, and how easy it is to for the average person to get sucked into these kind of plots, I mean, everything on the virus' Facebook page looked legitimate.
     Well, here's to hoping for a safer internet, and I'll catch you on the flipside.