Google+ a magnet for malware, scams

Google+ a magnet for malware, scams

Summary: Malware, scams and over-sharing of personal information unknowingly are some of the top security and privacy threats associated with Google+, according to security experts.


A month into its launch, Google+ has attracted around 20 million users who sign up via "invites" from members. This "referral" scheme has given cybercriminals an opportunity to push survey scams, Myla Pilao, director of core technology marketing from Trend Labs, highlighted in an e-mail interview.

Cybercriminals, she explained, have capitalized on the "perceived scarcity of the accounts" to create fake Web sites to lure unsuspecting victims interested in joining the social network. According to her, such sites claim to offer downloadable invites after a user completes a series of surveys. When users try to dismiss the list of surveys, they are directed to a file-sharing Web site where the user is given two options--to download an invitation for free by answering one of the surveys or pay a fee to obtain the invite, she noted.

Kaspersky Labs says it has discovered Trojans which originated in fake invites to Google+, Trend Micro says gender plays a role in social engineering attacks on Google+ users, and Sophos warns that Google+ features may reveal ones online status.

For more on this story, read Malware, scams top Google+ security threats on ZDNet Asia.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Apps, Google, Malware

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  • RE: Google a magnet for malware, scams

    "such sites claim to offer downloadable invites after a user completes a series of surveys. "

    Ugh. Invites are free. A tad difficult to find, but worst case you just give your email to Google on the Google+ page, and you'll eventually have it.
    • RE: Google a magnet for malware, scams

      @CobraA1 True. But a lot of malware today relies on "social engineering", and it it typical of the latter that it relies on the victim's incomplete knowledge. That is, in this case, the victim knows that a Google+invite is hard to get and highly desirable, but does not know that it is free, nor does he know how to distinguish a genuine invite from a fake one.
  • RE: Google a magnet for malware, scams

    And that, folks, is exactly why I steer of anything that says "Google" on it.
    • RE: Google a magnet for malware, scams

      @nikacat Because the problems are coming from places that DON'T have "" as the URL? That's like saying the guy offering free candy from his windowless van in the alley is a reason to stay away that says "Hershey's".
    • I'm No Fan of Google, but This Has Nothing to Do with Them

      The headline is misleading. The story explains that the Google+ name is used to leverage scams that have nothing to do with Google. The scammers are just using something that is popular right now to try to lure people into surrendering personal information or installing malware.

      Having said that, I use Google for search quite a bit, and I have a Gmail account available to me, but that's the extent of my use of Google.
    • RE: Google a magnet for malware, scams

      @nikacat correct and they are trying to get my phone number telling me that my account might be hack. so they can send a code to re activate it. i just abandon my account and stick to yahoo. then if thier database is hack what they will say .. a BIG SORRY ?
  • RE: Google a magnet for malware, scams

    Nothing to do with Google. Scam artists all over the internet. Scaremongery. Next.
  • RE: Google a magnet for malware, scams

    Same type of scams are on Facebook.
  • RE: Google a magnet for malware, scams

    right, wjhy is anyone surprised. These guys perfected their trade on FB and myspace and now they have an open fertile platyground.

    I think the only fault of googles is that knowing these guys have been practcing, they didnt do anything to stop it ibefore it started
  • RE: Google a magnet for malware, scams

    Probably a lot less so than facebook and myspace. I count 10 scams in my facebook news feed (I have 350 friends) and 0 on my google feed (I have 100 people in circles). Scams on social networks are nothing new, I haven't yet seen one on Google+, but it shouldn't be unexpected or news when I do.

    The new world order has begun at
  • RE: Google a magnet for malware, scams

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