COMMENTARY

Spammers waste no time infecting Apple's Ping

Days after launching a social networking site, company had to clean it up

Less than a week after introducing its new music-oriented social networking site Sept. 1, Apple had to begin scrubbing Ping clean of spammers and scammers who almost immediately began infiltrating the network.

Ping was launched as a feature of Apple’s new iTunes 10 music mart. “With Ping, you can follow your favorite artists and friends and join a worldwide conversation with music’s most passionate fans,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in an announcement. He probably wasn’t expecting that within hours, fans also would be swamped with offers for free iPhones, iPads, iPods and other iGoodies from website ads and survey offers in the comments sections of posts on popular artists.

If Jobs was surprised, he was the only one.

“This development does not come as a surprise,” said Bradley Anstis, vice president of technology strategy at M86 Security. “Ping is a social network and…cyber criminals have been targeting social networks for quite some time.” The two grande dames of social networking, Twitter and Facebook, have long been spam vectors. But Ping’s online filters were focused more on obscenity and copyright violations than possible spammers.

It probably is a compliment to Apple that the scammers jumped on Ping so quickly. The company reported that more than a million users had signed up on the new site within 48 hours. No self-respecting phisher would pass up a phish pond like that.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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