Are you among those who receive friend requests by the dozens each day, most from those you've never met/known, but still accept them, anyway? A report in BBC, stemming out of a research claims that 'socialbots' are among the latest threats to be plaguing the popular social networking platform, Facebook. Essentially computer programs, socialbots imitate real Facebook profiles and pose as a genuine friend request to unsuspecting users, only they're not! The report further states that 'socialbots' are fast emerging as a preferred mode of carrying such breaches.
Socialbots: The newest threat in town! (Image credit: Getty Images)
Socialbots are certainly not the only kind of bots flourishing, but, certainly it's the only one of its kind. The report further states that socialbots have become so popular that they are even being offered for sale on the internet for $29. Now, lets get down to see how is a socialbot different from the regular botnets that have been around. For starters, the report suggests that while general botnets infect a host of computers with a virus to allow remote access, socialbots can imitate a Facebook profile, and give the unsuspecting user the impression of a real one. On infecting, the software is known to gain complete hold over a profile. Once there, it begins posting messages, and sending friend requests. Interestingly, a team of scientists at the University of British Columbia built as many as 102 socialbots for their experiment, along with a botmaster, which sent commands to other socialbots. The findings thus revealed that in a duration of eight weeks the bots tried to make friends with as many as 8,570 Facebook users. Of which, as many as 3,055 accepted the friendships. Once into the victim's profile, the socialbot steals the email addresses and home addresses.
Facebook however, according to the report, rubbishes all the claims of this report.