Oct. 9th, 2008

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Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] slashfairy from this article by [livejournal.com profile] nympholept

Serial frienders used to be merely an annoyance, designed to troll people and get them worked up. Now, it seems, there's a whole new breed of them with a much more sinister purpose, and one theory is that it is connected with harvesting of personal information.

These new serial frienders are nearly always Russian journals. They're run automatically, they're betting on you friending them back, and once you do, all your friendslocked posts will be automatically trawled for personal data. Do you have your email address and IMs visible to friends only? Ever posted your real life name and snail-mail address in a f'locked post? A telephone number? Email addresses? If so then you could be at risk of having that information stolen and used by spammers or, much worse, identity thieves.

Here's some tips copied from Nympholept on how to spot a bot.

* The bots friend add people automatically from community member lists, and user's friend lists. You will often notice other people you know on the friends list of a bot that adds you.
* A lot of them post the same content - if you take some of their post, and google it, you will find many others journals with identical content.
* They almost always use Cyrillic, I'm told it's Russian, and that it doesn't make much sense sometimes (I don't speak any Russian, so i don't know)
* Sometimes, they reply: don't let that fool you. It is either automatic, or it is the person controlling the bots.

If you spot one, report it to LJ Abuse.

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