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Security Research

Are Pinterest "Pin It" Going The Way Of Facebook "Like"?

March 05, 2012 - 2 min read
Pinterest is a new social network that has been getting a lot of press lately. Basically, Pinterest is a virtual board, where users can pin things they like online. They can share the content with their friends, follow other people, etc.

My Pinterest board
Like Facebook, Pinterest users can add items to their board from the website, but also by clicking on "Pin it" widgets set up by webmasters on any website, which are equivalent of the Facebook "like" widgets. Any new pin shows up as a notification for all people following you. Although Pinterest is very new (you need to first apply for an invitation to get your login after a couple of days) and has a small number of users, spammers are already abusing the "Pin it" widget.

This week, I found spam campaigns at and that use Pinterest as the main tool to propagate scams.

The scam is very similar to some previous Facebook spam campaigns: users have to click on the "Pin it" widget in order to receive a free iPhone or iPad. On these two sites, scammers have used a fake "Pin it" widget rather than the official widget code.

After clicking on the widget, the site redirects to another website, such as:[skipExit]&pLeadEmailAddress=[pLeadEmailAddress].


The scam is the same as one that I described last week for a Groupon scam: the visitor has to fill out surveys or trial offers in the hope of getting a gift card or some other gadget.

Any website with features to spread links quickly to a trusted group of people is doomed to be abused by spammers.
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