Ping already flooded with spam and scams

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Well, it's worked beautifully with Facebook, and spammers have been quick to get going with fake surveys on Ping.

Within 24 hours of the new iTunes social network's launch, it's drowning in scams and spams, says Sophos' Chester Wisniewski. Many offer users a free iPhone if they complete an online survey.

"Coincidentally, the most common spam on Ping at the moment targets Apple itself. The attacks are nearly identical to survey spams we have blogged about on Facebook, Google and Twitter, says Wisniewski.

"If half as many free iPads, iPhones and iPods were being given away as Ping comments might lead you to believe, there would be no reason to bother with going to an Apple store. But if you actually want an Apple device, my advice is to go out and buy one, as filling out surveys will likely only end in tears."

But while spam has increasingly been appearing in Web 2.0 platforms such as forum comments and social networks, Apple's chosen not to implement spam or URL filtering. And it's particularly easy to set up bogus accounts for Ping because no credit card or other ID is required for registration.

Apple does have the ability to put filters in place, as profile pictures don't appear until the company's approved them - presumably an attempt to avoid dodgy content.

"It's safe to assume that Ping does incorporate some rudimentary filtering to prevent offensive messages from being posted, so hopefully Apple's security team can extend this to also block scam messages and malicious links," says Sophos senior technology consultant Graham Cluley.

"In the meantime, though, Ping users should be wary of believing what they read on the new service."