updated 11:45 am EDT, Fri September 3, 2010
Lack of filtering blamed
Despite being active for just a few days, Apple's Ping social network is already being invaded by spammers, says a Sophos security analyst. Some profiles, such as Katy Perry's, are reportedly being flooded with messages, often from scammers promising free Apple gear. "If half as many free iPads, iPhones and iPods were being given away as Ping comments might lead you to believe, there would be no reason to bother with going to an Apple store," comments Sophos' Chester Wisniewski.
The issue is being blamed mostly on a lack of spam and URL filtering, which Wisniewski suggests is becoming increasingly important for blogs, forums and social networks. Another problem is said to be the ability to sign up without positive identification, such as a credit card. This removes any barriers in creating spoof accounts.
Apple appears to have anticipated at least some problems, Wisniewski remarks, as people must nevertheless wait for official approval when submitting a profile picture.
Ping has so far had a shaky launch. Aside from spam, Apple has had to deal with a conflict with Facebook. While CEO Steve Jobs has attributed the absence of Facebook ties to "onerous terms," other reports indicate that Apple may have inserted Facebook links without consent, violating rules designed to prevent the latter company's infrastructure from being overwhelmed.