Facebook has vastly improved their security in the past few weeks with a lot of new security features, but some researchers from the University of British Colombia have demonstrated how easy it is for a new bot to infiltrate Facebook and harvest user data for their own use.
Socialbots, are designed to mimic a human user and you see them mostly in the form of sexy looking girl who always keep sending you Friend invites although you dont know a single thing about them. Once accepted as a friend they have instant access to email addresses, phone numbers, your list of friends and the rest of your personal details.
The Researchers used a single botmaster and 102 bots to infiltrate the Facebook network as they wanted to compare their security measures(which are though to be superior) to other social networking sites.
The researchers were able to generate over 3000 new and presumably human friends(although bots) who had a combined network of nearly a million users and the Facebook’s Immune System could only detect 20 out of the 3000 bots as spam.
The team explained the process in their research paper as:
As socialbots infiltrate a targeted OSN(online social network), they can further harvest private users’ data such as e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and other personal data that have monetary value. To an adversary, such data are valuable and can be used for online profiling and large-scale email spam and phishing campaigns. It is thus not surprising that different kinds of socialbots are being offered for sale in the Internet black-market for as much as $29 per bot.
As the use of Facebook in Pakistan is very common and more and more people are using it everyday to share personal information, it is a very scary to think what would happen if any of the bot’s collected data is used to blackmail users especially girls who use it as in our society that can turn out to be a very bad thing.
The only way to avoid this is to make sure who you add as a friend, i am not a bot by the way so you can add me (Gizmodo)