One Phish, Two Phish, Red Phish, Blue Phish – just say no!!! Mutt Media’s cautionary TAG tale…
It began with a simple enough email from a familar name that I haven’t heard from in awhile, so I opened it. Basically, the contents of this email were that “Jane Doe” has tagged me in their personal photos and wouldn’t I love to “click here” to see them? Let me save you the trouble if you should happen to receive an email such as this.
I clicked. I was then propelled into an environment where they asked me to sign up, join etc. in order to see these precious photos. By now, my antenaae was up but I decided to play along and join. Big mistake. The program began asking for access to my address book in order to find my friends and invite them to join too, which, as I suspected – was done to my friend Jane too.
Tagged claims to have over 70 million users but I question how many of those have actually opted-in knowing what they were getting into. This week I have been doing extensive research for an article I’m writing on Social Networking and the traffic these sites attract. I’ve read the data and I do believe people have stumbled into this trap and been added to their 70+million statistics, which just serves to help legitimize this practice of phishing.
Ok…I know you are going to ask, so I’ll save you the trouble of emailing me about this. According to Wikipedia, here’s their definition of phishing. And don’t worry – it’s happened to us all!
If you click on the word “phishing” in the previous paragraph, you can get the full-monty definition, it’s origins etc., but here’s the cliff note version:
“In the field of computer security, phishing is the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Communications purporting to be from popular social web sites, auction sites, online payment processors or IT Administrators are commonly used to lure the unsuspecting public. Phishing is typically carried out by e-mail or instant messaging, and it often directs users to enter details at a fake website whose look and feel are almost identical to the legitimate one. Even when using server authentication, it may require tremendous skill to detect that the website is fake. Phishing is an example of social engineering techniques used to fool users, and exploits the poor usability of current web security technologies.Attempts to deal with the growing number of reported phishing incidents include legislation, user training, public awareness, and technical security measures.”
So there you have it…a cautionary tale on spamming, tagging, phishing etc.
A quick disclaimer…some may actually enjoy this site and what it has to offer. This post is primarily a complaint about their methodology in signing up new members and siphoning off of your address book.
Oh…and a little footnote. Go and do a Google search on the Harvard-educated founders of the company and you’ll find a few skeletons.
I’m in pretty good company on this one. Just yesterday, Time‘s Sean Gregory called Tagged.com “The World’s Most Annoying Website”. I’ve provided the link, as Mr. Gregory, being the news writer, actually contacted the two founders of the company to inquire about their sign-up practices. It’s an interesting article, so check it out. Since I’m not a news journalist, I don’t have that responsibility. I’ll just say no thanks.