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Socialbots Scrape Facebook For Data

     
3:08 pm on Nov 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Socialbots Scrape Facebook For Data [bbc.co.uk]
Researchers have demonstrated a new technique capable of stealing personal information from Facebook.

Using 'socialbots', computer programs that mimic real Facebook profiles, the researchers were able to harvest vast quantities of personal data.

Socialbots are increasingly being used by internet criminals and are being offered for sale on the internet for as little as $29 (18).

Facebook said that the research was overstated and unethical.

What makes a socialbot different is that it is able to pass itself off as a real Facebook user.

The software takes over control of a social networking profile and from there performs basic activities such as posting messages and sending requests.

3:14 pm on Nov 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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As Gary Numan asked.."Are 'Friends' Electric?" :)

Tubeway army seem fitting for facebook..possibly even as a description :)..I remember seeing ( after an investigation into the number of friends of a US politician and interviews with agencies that are specialised in getting / selling one "friends" on face book), that upto 80% of facebook accounts, may well be bots..
6:42 pm on Nov 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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All the more reason to lock down your profile to only "real" "friends" otherwise a "friend" of a "friend" may pull down all your information.
12:00 am on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google is pushing for people to ONLY use their real names. I'd suggest refusing to do so else it will eventually mean your every word will be evaluated by someone. A potential employer perhaps? A legal department considering action against you maybe? Authorities seeking to profile you? Who knows, all I DO know is that the people who need to know, your real friends, already do so there is no good reason to be "real" online. What you don't have can't be used against you.
1:48 am on Nov 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google is pushing for people to ONLY use their real names. I'd suggest refusing to do so else it will eventually mean your every word will be evaluated by someone.


Horses for courses. Lots of accounts have "real" human names (not the weird combinations that are obviously bot generated). Such accounts have equally convincing "friends" with real names, with LinkedIn profiles, with Flickr collections, etc. But they can't be associated with live humans. There is no need to use a handle where a full name can be displayed.

Others prefer using their real names for branding purposes or to be discovered by a potential client or employer.
12:08 pm on Nov 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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"Google is pushing for people to ONLY" Thats just crazy, but I would say those that do so, can not complain if they get hacked in some way.

Im no member of any SN but would like to try twitter, but they use google analytics so as long they do that, i say no.
12:37 am on Nov 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Researchers have demonstrated a new technique

Heh... This technique is ancient in internet years, almost as old as Facebook.

The software takes over control of a social networking profile and from there performs basic activities such as posting messages and sending requests.

Takes over? The software creates the account itself. Article is pure hype.

Provided you have basic privacy options setup, you have to accept the friend request before a scary scary bot can get any useful info.

Google is pushing for people to ONLY

You mean like Facebook always has? One of the reasons, like it or not, that they were so successful? It's not as if they verify the authenticity of your "real" name, it just can't obviously be a handle.