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Saturday, February 06, 2016

Phishing Is A Form Of Identity Theft

We've recently seen a few blog owners, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, report their blogs being classified for phishing.
Today my blog was locked due to "phishing":
Hello, Your blog at http://xxxxxxx.blogspot.com/ has been reviewed and confirmed as in violation of our Terms of Service for: PHISHING. In accordance to these terms, we've removed the blog and the URL is no longer accessible.
No, there was no phishing in this blog - and no, I didn't change or add anything to it recently, that could trigger a false detection or report.

In the past, phishing generally would involve gadgets used to gather online identity information - such as third party email collection.

Email collection, in Blogger blogs, is best done using FeedBurner.

Most properly designed Blogger blogs, though, use FeedBurner Email Distribution - and FeedBurner, being part of Google, is hopefully not susceptible to phishing involvement.

Considering phishing as a form of identity theft, one might see a connection between some blogs, and Blogger abuse classification.
Phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

Some blog owners, in an effort to increase traffic, may be incautiously adopting identities of commercial products.

Mentioning commercial products, in user names, is a way to increase blog traffic.

When using social networking platforms, like FaceBook, Google+, and Twitter, a user name which includes a commercial identity may seem like a great way to get attention from the other members. The legal owners of the commercial product, however, may consider this to be a copyright violation, or identity theft.

Each of the terms "copyright violation", "identity theft", and "impersonation" may be included by Blogger abuse classification, or online reviewers, as PHISHING.




Google - and AdSense - may also have a problem with social networking identity.

It's also possible that Google wants to protect themselves - and is requiring the guilty blogs to be classified.

I do note that one of the blogs, recently reported in the forum, appears to have empty AdSense ads - on the same page with FaceBook and Google+ badges, that may impersonate a commercial product. The impersonation - intentional or not - may also violate AdSense prohibited content.
Google ads may not be displayed on websites with content protected by copyright law unless they have the necessary legal rights to display or direct traffic to that content.

Besides being careful to only include original content in the blog, one should also be careful to not infringe on commercial identities in other websites - such as social networking platforms.

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Some #Blogger blog owners, in an attempt to increase blog traffic - are advertising their blogs using social networking platforms like FaceBook, Google+, and Twitter - and are using the names of commercial products in their user names.

The user names include carefully added words which, to the blog owners, may seem to protect the blogs from complaints by owners of the commercial products. It's possible that Blogger does not see that way - and may be righteously classifying the blogs for copyright violation or identity theft, both of which might be considered phishing.

Dude, hit me with a comment!