As Facebook scams continue to loom and infiltrate news feeds, web security firm Websense has conducted a study to tabulate just how far these campaigns stretch. The news isn’t encouraging, with scams on Facebook estimated to reach more than a million users in a matter of days.
According to a Websense study of two recent Facebook scams, upwards to 1700 Facebook users interacted with the scam every few seconds during each campaigns’ peak days. A July scam based on malicious Wall posts took just over a week to hit peak numbers while a second in August took only two days, according to a post on Websense’s Security Labs blog.
In the August scam documented by Websense, malicious links posted on a users Facebook Wall with suggestive titles pointed users to a scam survey. Using an estimated average of 130 Facebook friends per user, Websense calculated that the survey may have reached approximately 823,680 people at its peak. A Web site associated with the scam saw roughly 1,267,200 visitors. After the survey, if one in two users shared the survey on their Facebook wall, it’d be seen by a whopping 633,600 people.
Of course, many users delete the phony link from their profile at some point. But even if 99% of users caught up in the scam delete it, thousands (6,336 to be exact) might continue to share the malicious links, giving social networking scams a long tail.