Fake Facebook Accounts: The Goods, the Bads and the Uglies
Fake Facebook Accounts: Why do they exist ?
There’s a lot of reasons why fake accounts exist, some good, some bad, and some “really bad”. Here’s what I found:
The Goods: ????
- Some people create them to test their partner loyalty.
- Some are created for spying on an account where they were locked out.
- In oppressive countries, some people use them to speak out loud, without the risk of being persecuted.
- Some just want to explore others sex experiences.
- Some just want to fantasize, like you would do in role playing games.
The Bads: ????
- They can be used to bully people, we’ve all heard stories about bullied kids that committed suicide after being bullied.
- Sometimes they are used to manipulate people: Someone I know has created multiple false accounts, to add likes and comments to her pictures, and to make believe she had a lot of friends. But in fact, it was all the same person..
- Some use false sweepstakes to gain likes and followers on their business page, only to make money with advertising.
- Some direct you to a website to improve their ranking on Google or Alexia. Have you ever heard of UrlSpirit and HitLeap? Again, they make money with pay per click advertising, or with Adfly, that pays you each time someone click on one of their shorten links.
- Some are simply used to send spam advertising, to all your Facebook friends.
- They might also ask you to click on multiple links on their website. By doing it, you simply help them improve their website bouncing rate, another Google factor for websites evaluation. In fact, it’s the percentage of users that quit a website page, instead of clicking on one of its links. The lower the bouncing rate, the better it is..
The Uglies: ????
1- Trojan Virus
False sweepstakes sometimes hide website with malicious intentions. If you go to their website and click on something, your computer can get infected with a Trojan Virus. It permit hackers to take control of your computer, when done, they might have access important personal and financial information. You won’t even know it’s there, it will do all its malicious stuff in the background. Unexpected changes to computer settings, and unusual activity when the computer is idle, are good indications of a Trojan presence in a computer. To avoid being infected by Trojan malware, users should keep their antivirus software up to date, never download files from untrusted sources, and always scan new files with an antivirus software prior to opening them. Read this news about how the Chinese government got hacked .
List of most commons Trojan Horse Virus:
Backdoor: Gives remote user control over the infected computer. The author can control your files and data, and reboot the computer.
Banker: These programs are designed to steal your account data for online banking, e-payment and credit or debit cards.
DDoS: They are used with other computers to make DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks on websites. When a website has too many access demand, it emit a DoS to stop traffic completely. A lot of big companies have been hit this way.
Downloader: It can install an FTP server on your computer and distribute illegal software.
Fake Anti-Virus: They mimic antivirus software. By making you believe you are infected by a virus, and that the only way to remove it, is by paying and installing their fake antivirus. In fact, their false antivirus is the real Trojan virus.
Ransom: It modifies your computer boot section so an image appear every time you reboot. The image make you believe they are the federal police, and you did something illegal. They then ask you to pay a fee, to get you computer access back.
Spy: These program can record everything you type on your keyboard, like usernames and passwords. It also takes regular screenshots of your monitor screen.
Mailfinder: They record all email addresses on your computer, and then send malicious stuff to all your contacts.
2- Facebook bot. They are special programs written to automatically interact with Facebook. Once accepted in your friends list, they find ways to make you click on something infected with a Trojan. Once infected, they can send spam messages with virus to all your contacts, and make them believe you send it. Bots can be used to make high-speed abuse, misuse, and attacks on websites.
3- Stalker. Someone might want to be in your Facebook friends, just to better track your everyday activities. It might be a jealous ex, an actual partner, a rival in love or in business, or simply someone who has an nasty crush on you.
4- Identity thief. Date of birth, email addresses, relatives names, and phone numbers are Informations that could be useful by identity thieves. Some of those are protected by Facebook now, and you need to ask users for them. If someone you don’t know is asking for them, just make sure you can trust the person before giving them.
5- Scammer or Phishing attacks. One trick scammers perform on Facebook is the “Stranded in a foreign city” trick. They make you believe that one of your close friend or relative is stranded somewhere, and need you to transfer him money. If you already have the fake account in your Facebook friends, it might just convince you that it’s true.
6- Teens and minors hook-up. Fake accounts can be used by pedophiles to attract innocent teens and Childs.
7- Sex Blackmailer (Sextortion): Fake Facebook Accounts can be used for blackmailing people. They manipulate people to do sex related stuff on webcam while recording them. They then force them to pay, or see the compromising photos and videos revealed to their relatives and friends. Even if people pays the ransom, nothing keep blackmailers from blackmailing them again. Some people have committed suicide because of this.
Here’s a few tricks to detect them: ????
- Most fake accounts use pretty women picture in their profiles, and in most case, these pictures come from the Internet. They also tend to have a large number of male followers. You can do a Google Image Search on those profile pictures, to reveal the real identity of the person. I made a photo montage below, of the real persons appearing in a lot of those fake profiles. I also added the real names corresponding to each ones.
- A lot of fake profile accounts use Jan 1st as the birth date. That day, watch carefully who’s having their birthday, you might find some of them.
- In most cases Fake accounts don’t have much history, and when they do, it’s on a very limited time period.
- I found one that had a man’s name in the url address, but was on a female profile. Easy one.. The url is the internet address of the site.
- When you can’t see faces on any of the profile pictures, it’s probably a fake account.
- Sometimes their profile doesn’t show the same person on every profile pictures. They might look alike, but when you look carefully, you can see the difference.
- From time to time, even the language don’t fit the image. I saw a profile which had every pictures made in California, but the person wasn’t even speaking English at all.
- When there’s only one recognizable person on all the images, it’s probably a fake account.
- Sometimes, there’s others people on the pictures, but nobody else is tagged or identified. And strangely enough, no comment were added by those persons.
- When all their profile images are of very low quality, it means they used small pictures they found on Google. Definitely suspicious..
- When they are bots “robots”, they just don’t answer your emails, comments or likes.
- They use a large array of stuff like mathematical quizzes, animal videos and philosophic stuff to get viral. People who share those just help them promote their Facebook page, they can then sell advertising and make money on it. And if you want answers for those quizzes, forget it, they don’t even have them. They simply publish images taken on internet, and in most case, the answer don’t come with it.
- And the most dangerous and most unexpected, Sweepstakes: When the prize seems to good to be true, it probably is. People tend to go real stupid over sweepstakes, clicking blindly on everyone of them. They become like beheaded chickens, running blindly in every direction, and that what the hackers want. When you see one giving cars, Iphones or Ipads, and other very attractive prizes, you should be very careful. Take the time to evaluate the total price of the reward, real sweepstakes basically never spend more than 400-500$ on rewards. Real companies don’t spend their money on Facebook like this, they use their own websites instead, where they have complete control on the security (https). You have to remember that the only objective of a sweepstake, is to reach the maximum audience, at the lowest cost. You will never spend 10000$ to gain Facebook followers, because probably less that 5% of them will ever buy your products. It’s way too difficult to know how many sales actually came from the sweepstakes, so you have to spend as little as possible on prizes.. When a sweepstake ask people to choose a color for their prizes, it’s like when a magician distract your attention, while he’s doing something else under your nose. You have to train your brain to focus at what’s really happening, instead of what seems to be happening..
That’s it for now, just remember, think before you act. Facebook is like everything else on Internet, you have to be very careful what you click on.. If you share something malicious on Facebook, you might as well, ruin one of your friend’s life !!
My Official Fake Facebook Accounts Page shows some of the fake accounts I found so far. It’s only in french though.. ????
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