As social networking sites continue to grow in popularity and their user base expands beyond savvy early adopters, such Web 2.0 offerings are becoming more and more the targets of scammers and phishing.
MySpace.com (Google partner and owned by Fox Interactive) has inherited the role of playing guinea pig in this arena, due to its checkered past and popularity amongst unsuspecting casual Internet users.
The Associated Press reports:
Managing the risks that come with rapid growth is an enormous challenge for MySpace, now part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. media conglomerate. The site can’t afford to drive away users, who might defect to one of a growing number of alternative sites, or advertisers, who pay top dollar to reach the growing MySpace audience.
A key reason behind the popularity is its ease. Simply by adding a few lines of computer code, users can create elaborate profiles and personalize them with photos, music and video. A host of communication tools makes it easy to send messages to one person or a whole list of friends, who number into the thousands for some of the more popular MySpace users.
Those same tools can be used by vandals to make it look like an innocent user has sent spam to the same long list of “friends.”
Programmers are writing scripts that take advantage of specific features on MySpace, including “friend request,” where one user asks to be added to another user’s list of buddies.