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IT Technology

Tech Support Scammers Invade Spotify Forums To Rank in Search Engines (bleepingcomputer.com) 33

Tech support scammers have been aggressively posting on Spotify forums to inject their phone numbers in a bid to vastly improve their odds of showing up on Google and Bing search results, a new report claims. And that bet seems to be working. From the report: They do this by submitting a constant stream of spam posts to the Spotify forums, whose pages tend to rank well in Google. While this behavior causes the Spotify forums to become harder to use for those who have valid questions, the bigger problem is that it allows tech support scammers to rank extremely well and trick unknowing callers into purchasing unnecessary services and software. BleepingComputer was alerted to this problem by security researcher Cody Johnston who started to see an alarming amount of tech support scam phone numbers being listed in Google search results through indexed Spotify forum posts. The tech support scams being posted to Spotify include Tinder, Linksys, AOL, Turbotax, Coinbase, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Norton, McAfee and more.
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Tech Support Scammers Invade Spotify Forums To Rank in Search Engines

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  • by bengoerz ( 581218 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @04:11PM (#55727227)
    I realize that December is slow, but comment spam doesn't seem newsworthy.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Most of the comments here are spam too, this one included.

    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      Its huge news! A scammer figured out how to game Google!

      And 3 hours from now we can expect the follow up story where Google tweaks their algorithm to compensate. Hurrah!

  • by SeaFox ( 739806 ) on Tuesday December 12, 2017 @04:20PM (#55727291)

    Spotify is a music site. Aren't discussions like this off topic for the entire forum?

    They could probably set up automated moderating to remove posts with certain keywords, required-review for the first several posts by new users, etc and stop a large swath of these before they even show up. But that would be too much work for the company.

    Everyone wants their own little walled-garden area for social interaction between users, but no one wants to take the responsibility for administrating them anymore. The result is Disqus embedded everywhere, and that appears to be not-moderated at all in my experience.

    • This sort of advertiser spam is what killed Usenet for good. Sure, it wasn't doing well at the time, but it wasn't terminally ill either. Then the invasion of spammers made it an all but useless service. So yes, you need administration and moderation.

      • by Altrag ( 195300 )

        Difference is Usenet was decentralized with no authority to take control of the problem. Spotify on the other hand is perfectly within their rights (and likely their capabilities) to filter spam from their own forums. And if they don't, Google will just tweak their page ranking algorithm and the problem will naturally go away after a while once the spammers realize they're just wasting resources (though that still leaves Spotify with a heavily polluted forums section -- they'd still have to try and clean

  • So, call them? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    We could go 4chan on them and start calling them. Tell them we saw their posts for free technical support on Spotify and then ask them a random question found on Stack Overflow. After a while, they might be actively trying to take down their own content spam.
  • They're mostly taking advantage of old people whose heads aren't all there anymore. Like it or not that's going to be a lot of us. It's not just Alzheimer's either. There's a general decline as you get older and you become more vulnerable. I'm guessing nobody likes talking about it because old people are a major voting block and it would play well with them. Regardless, it would make things so much easier if we'd acknowledge it and work on counter measures.
  • As moderator on a tech support forum, I see such things regularly. Fortunately we're a small forum and thus it is easy enough for a handful of people to monitor - and likewise as a small forum we don't get as much as any of your big social sites would. But I did see a McAfee spammer just today, so apparently they must think we are worthwhile ...

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.