There has been a lot of controversy regarding Facebook’s ever evolving privacy policies, but it turns out that some of Facebook’s legal actions can actually benefit everyone. Facebook and Microsoft have both been actively fighting and prosecuting some of the Internet’s worst spammers. This week Facebook won $711 million in damages from Sanford Wallace after a U.S. District Court Judge ruled that Wallace had violated the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act. The U.S. CAN-SPAM Act national standards for the sending of commercial e-mail and requires the Federal Trade Commission  to enforce its provisions.

Sam O’Rourke, associate general counsel at Facebook, says “If someone perpetrates a spam campaign that we feel is any way significant to our users, then we’ll go after them.” Meanwhile, just last month Microsoft filed a total of five suits against spammers using “malvertisement,” online ads that serve up malware to users computers.

These cases are one of the few situations where a big corporation getting involved helps benefit the average user. Patrick Peterson of Cisco says that the legal recourse being pursued by Microsoft and Facebook is good for everyone. “It is great for everyone,” he says. “In many cases people aren’t willing to go through the tremendous expense and distraction of prosecuting somebody.”

According to Patrick, you shouldn’t assume that these companies are pursuing these lawsuits as a source of revenue. Facebook and Microsoft usually never end up collecting real money for these cases, instead they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees for these lawsuits. Their ultimate goal behind these cases is just to halt spammers and set precedents to stop future spammers. “The next guy who thinks about doing this will think twice,” Peterson says.

(Via Forbes)

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sanford Sanford Wallace, an Internet marketer who is notoriously known as the “Spam King” for sending out as many as 30 million junk e-mails a day in the 1990’s, was found guilty in court for spamming Facebook and now has to pay them $711 million in damages. He is charged with hacking into user’s accounts and sending out phony messages and posts trying to make money from the users (which apparently he made tons of, and it’s not the first time).

In May, 2008, he did the same thing with MySpace, in which case he was also caught and forced to pay the social media site $230 million. And once again before that, $4 million for running an operation that spread a spyware virus.

Aside from having to pay such a huge amount of money, again, Wallace might also face jail time since the government is cracking down on cyber crime and Internet fraud.

(Via HuffingtonPost

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facebook3Facebook users have something new to fear, a virus known as Bredolab, is rapidly spreading through the popular social network. The virus masks itself as a “Password Reset Confirmation Email” and appears to come from Facebook. This deceiving email includes an attachment that supposedly contains a new password for the user.

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poke-at-own-riskI’m sure you’ve heard of criminals getting themselves caught through Facebook with such things as status updates telling the police where they are, or even “friending” police officers. But for the very first time, we now have someone who was actually arrested for something they did on Facebook. And I’m talking about “Poking.”

If you poke someone, if sends them a notification telling that that they’ve been poked and asking them if they want to poke back. In the case of Shannon D. Jackson of Tennessee, she apparently violated a restraining order when she poked someone she is not supposed to have any contact with. The U.S. law prohibits her from “telephoning, contacting or otherwise communicating with the petitioner” and a Facebook poke is considered to be “communicating with the petitioner.” In the state of Tennessee, violating a restraining order is a class A misdemeanor, punishable with up to 11 months and 29 days in jail and a fine of up to $2500. The lesson here is, be careful who you poke.

(Via WebProNews)

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facebook-thief1It is said that a thief will always return to the scene of the crime, but now-a-days they would rather update their Facebook status, even if that means that they’re taking the chance of being tracked down by the authorities. In this case, police were able to arrest a man accused of bank fraud after he continually updated his status about his nice easy life in Cancun, Mexico.

Maxi Sopo had it all figured out, he had escaped to Mexico and had seemingly escaped persecution until he added someone connected to the Department of Dustice as a friend on Facebook. Initially there was street service as well as teams scouring through the internet trying to find a trace of  Sopo. They caught a lucky break when one agent stumbled across a Facebook page where he noticed that he had befriended someone connected to the Justice Department. This is not the first time that police have used social networking sites to get the job done. There was also a recent incident where a burglar broke into a home and logged into Facebook during the break-in and forgot to log out, thus leading a breadcrumb trail for police which eventually lead to his arrest.

The police are also using other websites to help catch criminals. For example, police are posting security video’s on YouTube, and the FBI is using Facebook to track the teen that created the “Should Obama Be Assassinated” poll. It seems that now social networking sites are becoming a way for the authorities to find and track criminals, and could become a potential problem for criminals who can’t help themselves when it comes to using Facebook.

(Via The Guardian)

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burglarJonathan Parker is like most teens nowadays that can’t stop checking Facebook. But for Jonathan, his Facebook addiction ended up being his Achilles heel. Earlier in the week, the 19 year old broke in to a home and stole two diamond rings. While breaking in, he took a break to log on to one of the household’s computers and check his Facebook account. Unfortunately for him, he forgot to log out. By not logging out, he lead a trail directly to him that the police could use.

Mr. Parker is currently in custody and is facing a maximum 10 year sentence.

(Via Mashable)

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facebook-fan-check-virusWord has spread through Facebook that the popular Fan Check application may actually be a virus. Many Facebook users who have downloaded the application have made complaints that their accounts were being hacked and sending unintentional messages to their contacts.

The application, which became available only recently, monitors the friends that comment on your wall or photos the most, and ranks them from highest to lowest. Shortly after it became available on the social networking site, groups already began forming asking for Facebook to ban the new application and warning fellow users not to download it.

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helpRecently, two young girls in South Australia, aged 10 and 12, found themselves in the precarious situation of being stuck in a storm drain. Armed with their mobile phones, they resorted to Facebook for help. But instead of calling emergency services, they simply updated their Facebook status. Fortunate for them, a friend who was online saw their Facebook status, and took it seriously enough to call for help. Of course had they called for help themselves, the whole rescue process would have been much quicker.

This is one story that totally boggles the mind. Could it be that kids nowadays are growing up with a mindset that social networking is naturally their first form of communication before anything else? It certainly seems so.

(Via Tech Radar)

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fbcheatWe’ve all heard about social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook causing drama in relationships. Questions like “you were WHERE?” and “why would you post a comment on so-and-so’s wall?” have become common confrontations. As if this drama wasn’t bad enough, prosecutors in the U.K. are speculating that shady Facebook activity could have prompted a murder.

Welsh born Brian Lewis has been accused of strangling his partner and the mother of his four children, Hayley Jones. Apparently prosecutors are looking towards Facebook as the possible precipitate for the crime.

Jones had become very involved with Facebook and her buddies online. She began hiding the site from her partner and preventing him from looking at her profile or viewing her friends. Ten days before the murder, Jones changed her status from “in a relationship” to “single.”

Psychologists have confirmed that Facebook increases jealousy in relationships, which in turn is  a common motivator for murder. The trial is ongoing but the outcome doesn’t look very good for Lewis, since he reportedly told authorities on the phone that he had just strangled his partner.

(Via Mashable)

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twitter_hack3As social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter become more popular with the public, they also become more popular with internet hackers. Recent studies conducted by Breach Security showed that social networking sites were responsible for at least 19% of internet hack attacks in 2009. Just last week, an employee of  Arbor networks, Jose Nazario, discovered an attempt by attackers to use Twitter as a command and control to send instructions to infected computers. Twitter messages are being used to send out new download links, which in turn downloads a password-stealing Trojan known as Infostealer.Bancos.

Aside from Trojan, a popular malware installing virus called Koobface worm continues to wreak havoc on Facebook. A report from Kaspersky Lab shows that these malware attacks are ten times more effective than those sent through email. The important lesson to be learned here is that attackers are going to follow more users as these social network sites continue to grow rapidly. This provides serious risks for users who share too much of their private details out on these sites. Posting information such as home addresses, exact locations, and even telephone numbers are not the smartest things to do when site defenses are potentially so weak.

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