Google Talks Spam Control for Buzz
Update: WebProNews contacted Google to find out how they handle Google Buzz spam. The company tells us:
"We have several spam and abuse checks in place for Google Buzz content. On the abuse side, we recompress images that are uploaded, and links are scanned by the same technology that helps protect Google web search and browsers that implement our Safe Browsing data. Users can also click "Report abuse" in the drop-down menu for each Buzz message. We will suspend accounts for abuse that violates our terms of service."
"Email messages and buzz posts are inherently different in that anyone with your email address can spam you, but you choose who to follow in Buzz. If someone is following you whom you consider spammy, you can always block them. We think the bigger potential for spam is in comments, and we have spam and abuse detection in place to combat this."
Original Article: Last week, Google launched the much talked about Google Buzz, its new social media product that ties into users’ Gmail accounts (among other things). Privacy issues have been widely discussed (and addressed accordingly by Google), but Security firm Websense tells us that spammers are already exploiting the service as well.
"With all the buzz last week about Google Buzz, we were just waiting for malicious activity to show up on the newly launched service," a Websense representative told WebProNews. "We didn’t quite expect it to happen this fast. Last Friday we saw the first spam using Google Buzz to spread a message about smoking."
"The spammer was already following 237 people, and we can only imagine that he or she has sent similar messages to all of them," she added. "This particular message leads to a site hosted on a free Web hosting service talking about how to quit smoking."
It goes to show that spammers waste no time in exploiting new opportunities, and something as big as a Google social network is sure to have a great deal of potential victims.
"When Twitter was launched, it took a while before it was used to send spam and other malicious messages," the representative said. "In this case, it only took two days. It’s clear that the bad guys have learned from their experience using social networks to distribute these type of messages. We hope that Google is geared up for dealing with the volume of spam it’s bound to see on the new service. Until then, we advise users to be careful, as usual, when clicking on unknown links."
Carl Leonard, Security Research Manager EMEA, Websense says, "It’s worrying that spammers have an improved knowledge of social networks these days that allows them to hit new services like Google Buzz so rapidly. Users want to communicate through multiple channels and use social media tools as part of their everyday lives including at work, but it’s important they are savvy to potential threats."
We’ve contacted Google about its efforts for combating Google Buzz spam. We don’t know how widespread a problem this is. I haven’t noticed any spam in my own Buzz account yet, and its hard to say how common it is. I would say, however, that the best precaution you can probably take is to only follow people you trust. We’ll update this post when we hear back from Google on the subject.
Google uses Buzz in its own real-time search results, which will show up in SERPs for many newsy or "buzzy" (if you will) queries, but Google is generally pretty good at keeping spam in its search results to a minimum. When Google’s real-time search first launched, the spam quickly followed, but I can’t say I’ve seen much in the way of spam showing up here anytime recently. As I write this, I’m watching the " Mardi Gras " results roll in, and I’m not seeing anything that doesn’t appear legitimate (spammers are often quick to exploit events).
Have you witnessed any Google Buzz spam? Comment here.