Tag Archives: fail

Beware of Evil Facebook Groups

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Filed under Social Networks
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Some of my Facebook friends are probably wondering why I would fall into the trap of the magical “dislike button” hype that seems to be sweeping across Facebook right now.  In a little social experiment and hopefully an awareness exercise for some of my non-security friends I created a Facebook group based off of similar ones I have seen called The REAL Dislike Button™ is Finally Here! Add it Now!.  The group is harmless even if it looks like there is scary JavaScript code in the instructions to “turn your friends blue”.  If you click on the link it takes you to one of my favorite YouTube video’s.  :)

The point is that these fake groups are targeting Facebook users thinking that Facebook has these new “features” like a dislike button and even ones like “see who viewed your profile”.  Folks, these techniques and/or modifications to Facebook don’t exist.  Sorry.  Just in the last week I have seen more and more of my Facebook friends sharing links to these groups.  Almost all of the groups I have looked at that were being shared lead to very bad places which I will demonstrate below.

Example #1 – The Typical “Get the DISLIKE BUTTON” Scam
In this example we have one of *many* groups that promise you the uber magic secret “dislike” button if you just join the group, invite your friends to do the same and follow some strange link off to Neverland.  This group has 1,162,238 members.  I wish I was making that number up.

The first thing you will notice is that there is a link to a Facebook profile they want you to friend.  That profile was deleted (your first clue).  Next, they want you to check out a link in Step 5.  That link sends you here:

Which will eventually install some nasty adware/spyware on your Windows machine called Adware.Mywebsearch.DV.  It’s not easy to get rid of.

In a similar group like the one above with a mere 697,375 members the last link takes you to this:

If you go through with entering in your cell phone number and getting the confirmation code per the instructions you have just signed up for a monthly charge to your cell phone account to the tune of $9.99 per month.  The monthly charge details is in the very tiny text you can hardly read.  Nice.  But wait, if you were smart enough to try and close the quiz window, you get this pop-up:

Really?  Hopefully you don’t fall for that one even though it shows your real city.

Example #2 – The Typical “See everyone who viewed your profile” Scam

This is one of my favorites as this is another impossible feat of Facebook technology.  Here is what the screen shot look like:

Note the PhotoShop job on the notification window showing who has “viewed” your profile.  Clicking on the bit.ly link leads you to another quiz application or adware/spyware or other forms of dangerous malware.  Don’t worry, there are *lots* of these groups out there. Good times.

So the lesson here is…don’t click on anything in these groups that tempt you with magical Facebook powers!  If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

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Twitter: You’re Doing It Wrong!

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Filed under Social Networks
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I see some crazy, mind blowing things posted by people on social networks but this recent tweet I saw might take the cake.  It’s one thing to post something on Facebook where you have the ability to lock down who might see your status updates but Twitter has very little control over this.  In fact, if you post something to Twitter (even with a private profile) it can be re-tweeted and/or copied by your friends.

Regardless of settings I think that there are just *stupid* people using social networks.  In fact, I think that even if social networks didn’t exist these people would still be classified as ones with “no brain cells” (no pun intended with this example).  For example, here is tweet from a girl talking about a job interview she has scheduled with some company:

fail_twitter1

Now if that wasn’t bad enough…check out her profile picture:

fail_twitter2

I have nothing else to say but…FAIL.  Perhaps this is the start of a new series of blog posts.  :-)

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Bad hard drive? Don’t let Apple take your data!

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Filed under Apple
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A very sad mac for security reasons

So the hard drive on my wife’s one year old MacBook has officially started to kick the bucket. Random crashes, slow performance and lots of errors like this in the system log:

disk0s2: 0xe0030005 (UNDEFINED).

Yup, we have bad blocks..all indicating imminent drive “FAIL”. I have AppleCare on the MacBook so I call them up and explained the situation. Surprisingly, they didn’t give me a hard time. In the past I have had problems with other computer manufacturers (ummm…Dell) in which I would have to argue with the guy/gal on the other end of the phone that the drive was “really bad” and I didn’t need to spend hours on the phone with them troubleshooting. So far so good with Apple right?

So I am finishing up the call and the tech is explaining how Apple will ship me a box to send the MacBook back to them for repair. Apparently, they don’t do self service hard drive swaps anymore. Weird since it’s easy to replace a hard drive on a MacBook. Anyway, the rest of the conversation went something like this…

Apple guy: “Sir, do you have a password set on your MacBook”?
Me: “Yes. Why do you need that?”
Apple guy: “The tech’s need it to replace your hard drive”
Me: “Huh? Why do you need my password to replace a bad hard drive? Just pull the old drive out and put the new one in.”
Apple guy: “Sorry sir. That’s the procedure.”
Me: “What if I don’t give you the password?”
Apple guy: “Then we can’t repair your laptop”
Me: “grrrr…fine…here is my password..ready? a-p-p-l-e-s-e-c-u-r-i-t-y-F-A-I-L”
Apple guy: “Thank you sir. You will have your shipment box in 24 hours.”

So for every bad hard drive that comes into the Apple repair center they log in to verify that the drive is bad? What do they do with all the drives like mine that are still functional but have bad blocks? Can Apple guarantee that there are no shady people working in the repair center wanting to steal my personal information? What happens to the data? The sad mac fact (note the “sad mac” picture above) is that no one knows!

I did some research on this and apparently Apple doesn’t care too much about your personal data. Dave Winer wrote about this extensively and notes the same problem. The Apple repair “terms and conditions” only states that your information is protected in accordance with the “Apple Customer Privacy Policy” and that you agree that Apple can use your data to perform the “service obligations”. Interesting to also note that on the Apple privacy web site under the AppleCare Repair Agreement it also states the following:

“You agree and understand that it is necessary for Apple to collect, process and use your data in order to perform the service and support obligations under the Plan. This may include the necessity to transfer your data to affiliated companies or service providers located in Europe, India, Japan, Canada, People’s Republic of China or the U.S.

Huh? People’s Republic of China? That’s nice. I couldn’t find any reference noting what Apple does with your personal “hard drive” data. They only mention your name, address, things you purchased, etc…

So what am I going to do about this? I’m going to completely wipe the drive (Darik’s Boot And Nuke is my favorite disk destruction utility) before sending it back to Apple just to see what happens. I have my doubts that they will actually log in to the MacBook to see if the drive is bad. Let’s see if I get the drive replaced or not…I’m betting it will be replaced, no problem.

Sure, Apple is not the only company doing this with hard drives. This is a problem that needs to be addressed by all computer vendors. What they do with your data should at least be disclosed in their repair and/or privacy policy (at a minimum). In the meantime, encrypt your sensitive data (TrueCrypt works well) and securely remove any data you don’t want people servicing your computer to see. I’ll keep you updated on the repair status… :-)

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