Lost all respect for Miley Cyrus? Facebook survey scam spreads virally

Filed Under: Facebook, Rogue applications, Social networks, Spam

Toni, one of the members of the Sophos Facebook page, just got in touch with me asking if I'd seen the latest scam spreading virally across the social network.

Users are seeing messages posted by their online friends about teen popstar Miley Cyrus. They look like the following:

SICK! I lost all respect for Miley Cyrus when I saw this photo

SICK! I lost all respect for Miley Cyrus when I saw this photo

We have seen a number of different URLs being used in the messages, but they all redirect to a page which shows a traffic sign-like image of the word "respect" crossed out in red.

The page also says "SICK! I lost all respect for Miley Cyrus when I saw this photo" followed by a large flashing graphical button labelled "CLICK HERE" under the message "Please click here, then ALLOW to see the photo."

Regular readers of Naked Security like Toni will already be smelling something fishy at this point, but there will inevitably be some Facebook users who will feel compelled to explore further.

I'll save you the trouble of risking your Facebook account, by explaining what happens next.

If you do click on the "CLICK HERE" button you will be taken to a standard Facebook application permissions dialog, which asks for you to approve the third-party app to access your personal data, send you emails, post status messages and pictures to your wall.

It's hard to believe that people would allow this to happen, but if you're desperate to see a picture of Miley Cyrus which will make you lose all respect for her (the mind boggles..) then you may well click further on.

Rogue application permissions

Unfortunately continuing is a mistake, as you will be lead directly to a CPALead survey, which earns the scammers money every time one of their dumb questionnaires is answered.

The scammers only need a few people to complete their survey to make it financially worthwhile to build rogue applications like this - that's why there are so many of them. If only Facebook took a tougher line about the applications it allowed on its network.

Account spamming about Miley Cyrus

If you've been hit by a scam like this, remove references to it from your newsfeed, and revoke the right of rogue applications to access your profile via Account/ Privacy Settings/ Applications and Websites.

Here's a quick YouTube video where I show you how to clean-up your Facebook account from such an attack:

(Enjoy this video? You can check out more on the SophosLabs YouTube channel and subscribe if you like)

If you're a member of Facebook and want to learn more about security threats you should join the thriving community on the Sophos Facebook page.

Do you think Facebook is doing enough to stamp out survey scams like this, or is it the fault of the Facebook users themselves? Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

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15 Responses to Lost all respect for Miley Cyrus? Facebook survey scam spreads virally

  1. Good article Graham, keep those blog posts coming. Herd the sheep towards priv & sec awareness !

  2. Benjamin Franklin · 1679 days ago

    Me neither. I would never allow any app to post on my page but now I have it in my "likes" and can't get rid of it because it says my connection failed for about a million times. Strangely I can remove every other item without a problem.

    • Kubulai · 1676 days ago

      Use the X in the upper right corner when you mouse over, and mark it as SPAM. That will remove it. It does not show up in your apps.

  3. Lars · 1676 days ago

    There is a new variant of this scam. It 'likes' itself. Remove the notification from your wall, then remove the like itself at: http://www.facebook.com/editprofile.php?sk=activi...
    (click 'Show Other Pages', find it and remove it).

    • Wilf · 1027 days ago

      I've got this now, but I can't remove it! It seems to be hidden when I go to edit profile, and if I try to delete it from my wall the delete button is disabled... This is a sneaky, sneaky facebook virus!

  4. Bro. Steve Winter · 1676 days ago

    When you consider the events documented at http://www,facebookcensorship.org
    it makes the Facebook despicable app security even more disgusting.

    Bro. Winter

  5. yeah I never click on those things and I did one last night by accident. figured out what it was after it posted on my wall w/out my permission. They are becoming less obvious and more invasive.

  6. Chris · 1673 days ago

    There's a version of this that can post on your wall without showing the permission dialogue. It linked me to a fake Youtube page.

  7. Jeorge · 1673 days ago

    Why would anyone ever hit the accept button to any app? It tells you that you are "giving them access to your information at any time, allowing them to email you, and post on your wall..." Wake up people! Why are you just giving this information to whatever company owns the app? The apps are useless anyways.

  8. Dave · 1672 days ago

    Have the same thing, without any apps allowed or anything liked in Facebook. Is there no way to stop this? I get a messy post on my profile once a day and it seriously annoys me.

    Any hints?
    I appreciate your help.

  9. i want the unlike buttion

  10. The Doomed Nerd · 1423 days ago

    No site in internet is secure, 100 percent.

    Even Facebook is weak, in my opinion, even this site itself.
    That's why I always monitor what applications are accessing in my account.

    And every time, malicious hackers and phishers
    will never stop discovering security holes in such sites, even the most secure sites.

  11. Unknown · 1423 days ago

    I have a video of Miley Cirus doing oral sex with someone. And it was sent to a lot of my friends. I didn't click on anything or even been on my account for a few days. How do I remove it from everyone's page?????

  12. isis · 1092 days ago

    wow there's so many of these. i have never clicked on any (before today) but see them a lot.. i am getting tired of facebook's weaknesses.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog at https://grahamcluley.com, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley