The Dark Side of Web 2.0
The terms social media network and viral marketing have made it from the Web to the boardroom and back again. Both veteran and rookie public relations practitioners can agree on the merits of using social media to reach the audience.
But what happens when the audience tunes in, only to be rewarded with a viral message that is sinister in nature?
Key’s site was targeted by hackers as part of a scheme to spread socially engineered attacks.
A similar story on mtv.com reports that the affected sites prompted visitors “to install fake codec, making their computers vulnerable to invasion.” Systems without the appropriate software patch can be infected.
Roger Thompson, chief technology officer of Exploit Prevent Labs, said that even users who have taken precautions to avoid attacks may still be vulnerable. “Security and functionality exist in an inverse relationship,” Thompson said. “The more functional you make anything, the less secure it tends to become.” Watch as Thompson demonstrates the attack at youtube.com.
MySpace is dealing with a situation that other social media networking sites would be wise to monitor closely.
“This was a hack of MySpace itself, and not a situation where attackers simply uncovered the user names and passwords for those pages,” Thompson said.
“Individuals who try to phish our members are violating the law and are not welcome on MySpace,” a MySpace spokesperson told PC World via email. “We have blocked and removed the source of this phishing attempt and restored the profile.”
Timing is Everything
The timing of the attack on Key’s page is terrible, with the musician’s latest album, “As I am,” scheduled for release on Nov. 13.
This security break down gets in the way of effective communication. It can be damaging to the relationship between the audience and client, while creating a PR crisis. Maybe this is just a one time occurence (fingers crossed). If it’s not, the price tag of social media networks may soon be marked with nine red letters: clearance.