Pinterest attracting the wrong kind of interest

Tineka Smith
Published 04 April 2012

The popular visual-based social media site has been warned by security experts to get serious about spammers abusing its systems.

The Pinterest website is being flooded with posts promoting dodgy healthcare advice, claiming to be officially sponsored by Pinterest.

Sophos security is warning users of the new site to tread cautiously, after links about an acai berry diet actually link to an external website.

Pinterest is quite new to being spammed as its popularity was something of an overnight sensation.


Pinterest started in late 2009 for users to share ideas and interest thorough photographs and visually based content. The site suddenly started gaining popularity in the second half of 2011, with a reported 11 million visits during one week in December.

“Unless Pinterest gets serious about preventing spammers from abusing its systems, the problem is just going to get bigger and bigger,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. “We’ve seen similar acai berry websites promoted multiple times in the past by spammers, who earn commission from driving traffic in the direction of the fruity dieticians, and this is not likely to be the last.”

Just last month a popular scam hit Pinterest which claimed to advertise free Starbucks coffee but linked to a dangerous external site, which was detected by Trend Micro’s Trend Labs.

“If Pinterest continues to grow, more spammers will be tempted to exploit the website’s userbase, said Cluley.

“Users of Pinterest would be wise to take care over their accounts, and think carefully about what they ‘repin’ and what links they click on. As with any social media website, users need to have a critical eye and not be fooled by simple spam traps.”

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