NPR logo Hacking The Innocence Out Of Our World

Hacking The Innocence Out Of Our World

It looked totally legit.

Ken sent you a message.
Subject: Look at this!

I clicked because friends send strange links all the time.

Turns out, I'd been phished. TechCrunch reports that a phishing attack is affecting a bunch of Facebook users and every time someone signs in and tries to log into their "facebook" account, the site steals your credentials and sends all your friends similar messages.

This isn't unlike what happens on MySpace all the time; it's not unlike the busty women that appear on your profile wall. But phishing exercises are usually easy to spot; they're fairly obvious and you can dismiss them quickly.

That's why this one took me by surprise: that I fell for it, that the rouse was so well disguised I didn't think twice before I clicked.

It kind of reminded me of the ad placements on The Biggest Loser. I remember watching an episode where the contestants were all drinking milk. For a second I thought, "How nice, they keep healthy by drinking milk." Then one of the trainers went into a soliloquy about the virtues of milk and it became pretty obvious, I had become the victim of product placement.

And it kind of makes you lose a bit of trust in the world, because it's not easy to see something as innocent as milk and something as private as messaging between friends being hacked.