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Ping under fire from spammers, says security firm

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.

by MacNN Staff




  1. bdmarsh

    Joined: Dec 1969


    not easy

    not everyone has a credit card, some people only use gift cards with their iTunes accounts. As spam is reported, most likely it is a small number of people using multiple accounts, the IPs will be banned, which will make it become less common over time.

    Maybe they could require that someone have made a purchase before they can post on Ping ;)

  1. andrewbw

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Oo yeah!

    Just like regular spam! You just ban a few IPs and it's gone! I never see spam anywhere!

    Ping is embarrassingly poorly thought out; as an experiment, I was able to sign up a Ping-only account and post a nonsense test message on the "Wall" of my normal account in about two minutes with no credit or gift card required. It's a stupid, intern-level design.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    So exactly how is Ping so much better than Facebook or any of the 1289 other social sites out there?

    And why does anyone really need yet another site to keep up to date and track people on?

    The next time we hear how Apple is always forward thinking and ahead of the curve, I'm sure we'll be told that they're not first, they just make things so much better than all the others. And then someone will have to say "Um, and what about Ping?"

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Apple appears to have anticipated at least some problems, Wisniewski remarks, as people must nevertheless wait for official approval when submitting a profile picture.

    Yeah, they foresaw people would put up lewd images if you let them. I'm surprised Apple doesn't want to review everyone's "wall" before they show it, to make sure they all follow proper guidelines.

  1. famalegoods129

    Joined: Dec 1969


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  1. ophiochos

    Joined: Dec 1969


    not just ping that gets spammed then?

    uh, what I just said in the subject...!

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