Don’t think that the Internet has come of age and locked out trouble to keep regular users safe and sound. There are still plenty of people who we could liken to a wolf in Grandma’s clothing. A recent Google Maps spoof that allowed one IT professional to intercept calls to the FBI and CIA shows that when a company blasts services out into the world wide web, there are still people savvy enough to maintain the Internet’s old ‘Wild West’ nature of gaming the people and the system.
Rather than phish for your information, steal your password or barf about your being the 100,000th visitor to attract a click, the people pulling the strings are going after the most successful vulnerability ever known on the Internet so far: Google Maps. Who visits a service’s website directly anymore for contact information? Going to the source is one extra click too many for most users when that contact information is readily available on Google Maps – or is it?
Read this snippet: there’s a cottage industry around flooding Google Maps with fake listings for businesses like locksmiths, the most notoriously abused sector, and then forwarding the calls from unsuspecting Google users to call centers. The centers either dispatch workers who only accept cash and charge more or, in some cases, they sell the leads back to the actual local businesses being squeezed out. “They (Google – ed.) make way too much money on AdWords to give a shit about small businesses,” said Seely, noting one spammer who made $10 million a year.
Tip: Always make that extra effort to click one more time to the publisher’s website especially now that you know what you know! Always get your information from the source.