Sunday, September 07, 2008

Web 2.0 fraud

People always wonder what Web 2.0 means. It's simply a term to describe "the new Internet", call it "version 2" of the Internet, if you like, which has been evolving for around three or four years now.

What the term has now come to resemble is the ongoing social networking and digital media sharing revolution, coupled with all the neat user-experience features you find on websites and the free nature of Internet services. The champions of this movement have been Google (as facilitator and free service provider), Facebook (the best example of social networking), YouTube (the showcase of user file sharing and distribution); and there are many more, but you get the idea.

Anyway, like everything else in the digital age, there's a negative, malicious side to Web 2.0. Not only are there Facebook and MySpace worms, but hackers have recently managed to break into user accounts and blogs on these services, utilizing the user identity to communicate with the world. Even 'phishers' have now got in on the game, taking their scams to these social networking communities.

For those who are not aware of 'phishing', it's a term that refers to attempts to get your personal data, through either communicating with you under the guise of an organization you know. If you get an email from your bank, asking you to send them your account number and password, or your credit card number, rest assured it's a phishing scam!

Apart from the usual scrouges of viruses, hacking and phishing, it seems even criminals have decided to tap into the 'social networking and group cooperation' element of Web 2.0 and have therefore created their own online communities, help centers (if you can call them that).

The latest development is a site called It's a network of hacked personal computers that can distribute data-stealing malicious software, providing cyber crooks with a ready-made tool! For a small fee, will take whatever malware you provide and inject it into a pre-selected number of PCs already compromised. What's the world coming too!

Criminals evolve as our technology tools mature; and the more critical online communication and information exchange becomes, the more dangerous Web 2.0, and soon Web 3.0, fraud will be.

Apply common sense to protect your Internet presence on social networking and sharing sites. Regarding worms, just don't accept messages/content/links from people you don't know, and be suspicious if someone you do know is sending you something really strange, his/her account has probably been hacked! If it looks like a scam, it is a scam. It's as simple as that!


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