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Google Reader Hacked?
« on: February 22, 2008, 03:11:20 AM »
Google Reader Hacked? - Blogs and pictures appearing out of nowhere
By: Vlad Constandes, SEO News Editor, softpedia

Google has long fought spam and for a while it managed to fend it off with elegance and class, but it looks like spam has finally breached one of the last spam-free products on the web, Google Reader. The Google Groups forum, a place for users to complain about things falling apart or demand new features, now hosts a new thread created addressing the issue.

"How are these people's blogs showing up in my reader that I haven't added to my subscriptions? Lots of Ads or people I just don't know," the man starting the respective thread wrote. His claim to have been targeted by somebody using Reader to advertise his blog and deliver some unwanted content is backed by another user, claiming to have a similar problem: "In my iGoogle homepage where I have a widget (taken from Google reader I think?) allows me see my feeds. I am seeing a feed from something called 'best pics around.' This now is flooding the widget so that i no longer see any of my other feeds. However, when I go to my Reader there is no sign of this feed and I see my other feeds as normal but therefore I am unable to unsubscribe to this feed. I have no Friends shared items and I am logged in to my account."

As spam by definition means unwanted messages, the above seems to describe exactly such an attack. Immediately, the thread was visited by a Google Reader guide that asked if by chance that wasn’t some other person’s Reader, out of which they might have forgotten to log out. Not likely, the two situations are different in nature, one having a gadget acting weird and the other the service itself.

A few distinct possibilities are plausible, as suggested by rustybrick of seroundtable.com. The first involves somebody hacking the accounts and adding the content explicitly, another would be the computer having been infected and injected with the new feeds. A site could have triggered this by automatically adding subscriptions to the accounts, but it hasn’t been heard of before. In case this happened to others as well, here’s the link to the thread, additional cases and input are always welcomed.


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