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Spam 2.0 – Social Media Security. Lack thereof because of?

Spam 2.0 – Social Media Security. Lack thereof because of?

Let’s take a look at some of the big movers and shakers in Social Media: –

blogger facebook linkedin

twitter 

  • Each of them is interested in your content.
  • Each of them has your content in the Cloud.
  • Each of them has to some degree a store of your personal information.

Most if not all of us have antivirus, firewalls, anti-malware solutions on our personal and work computers. Many of us have suffered to some extent from unwanted and often inappropriate emails, spyware and even viruses (I know, not you Linux folks… right.) however, our usage of Web 2.0 and Social Platforms seems to suffer a little more from these delightful occurrences certainly at the Spam level.

Blog comments:

As a blogger you basically have limited options regardless of which platform you use: –

  • You can disable comments altogether, something Engadget felt forced to do this week due to the nature of some of the comments they were receiving (apparently even threats).
  • You can leave comments open and unmoderated for any and all to post which can result in large amounts of Spam. If you configure the Comments to go to your email then this can further overload your inbox with the same Spam.
    • Case in point, this blog receives Spam comments in Kanji, Mandarin, Portugese and Italian.
    • Below is a comment from @dvirreznik regarding his month old blog

dvir-tweet

  • You can configure your comments for moderation which requires you to approve each and every comment made. This is both time consuming / labor intensive for the blogger and sort of takes the Social out of it all.

When I commented in Twitter about this myself @testingqa responded with a great deal of insight:

my comment was …

Thought 4the Day: should blog platforms provide security against spammers beyond moderate comments? #geofilter #learningfilter #antispam 2:54 PM Jan 29th from Seesmic

My tweets: @Testingqa replies:
me-spam

 testingqa-spam

 

The problem seems to be growing not just on blogs but in Facebook, Twitter itself and other Social Media.

Facebook:

Facebook has security settings which are for each functional aspect of a user’s Facebook identity or page they may define the extent that their information is exposed. Furthermore, the user may choose to limit whether their posts to Facebook are indexed by search engines. Facebook chooses to set the defaults as more open rather than more secure as they are in the business of information accessibility. The onus is on the user who they choose to connect to and the levels of sharing they decide to configure.

LinkedIn:

LinkedIn the most business / professional oriented of the platforms I’m writing about here and other than some ads I didn’t really want to see (but weren’t inappropriate just irrelevant) I have not experienced any phishing, spam or mal-occurrences.

The real question is why do platforms like Blogger which is Google’s blogging platform or Facebook or even Twitter (which experienced phishing attacks just yesterday for user passwords) not have better solutions to these security issues which frankly are worrying precursors to actual malware and virus attacks on users and their information on these platforms?

Is it indifference on the part of the platform owners, a lack of a solution or simply that Social Media platforms have not reached the level of product maturity to provide solutions?

Google for example has excellent anti-spam technology in Gmail, why not port this to Blogger’s comments?

I know that simply filtering comments by language/ commenter geo-location allowed by the blog owner would reduce the Spam on my blog drastically.

Or should comments only be from someone who wants to follow you either via Twitter / Facebook / OpenID / Google Connect?

Are we only going to see a more structured response to this black hat behaviour after the fact? Time will tell but if your information is valuable to you don’t rely on others to protect it ensure you have your own backup / disaster plan in place.

Over the last few months I have heard several stories from friends where their blog/ site as hacked, content deleted and they subsequently discovered the host had failed to perform any expected backup.

At the end of the day we have to balance our desire for strong security with how that will limit the exposure of our content; after all it’s not Social Media if we lock it in a box. Now that I mention it I think it is time for a backup after I post this.

Good luck and stay secure.

 
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