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Clever Pinterest Virus — A First For The Booming Image Site?

Filed in project(s): Technology
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I’ve been very lucky as far as online viruses go and I never expected a Pinterest virus to surprise me. I had some problem with getting my Hotmail account hacked once and I’ve also had some problems with malware, adware and spyware back in those dreadful pre-Mac PC days. But I seemed to have caught a bug messing with me — on Pinterest of all sites.

How did that happen?

I Had Never Seen A Virus On Pinterest Before

When you pin something on your board, you can always edit it. But when I clicked a pin looking like an ad. I clicked it because I wanted to know why anyone would be repinning such a pointless image to their board. And – boom! – suddenly it ended up on one of my boards as well.

Stupid, I know. I’m usually very smart about these things, but this time someone got the better of me. But this is very tricky; when I wanted to remove it, the edit button was somehow gone. Annoying — but pretty clever.

I don’t know if this is the first Pinterest virus and I don’t know how it works. Did it lure me away from the site and fooled me to click on a replica page outside of Pinterest? If so, pretty well done indeed. I’m not usually that easy to fool.

I’m also not sure whether this is a bonafide virus, spyware, (browser) malware or what it is? I didn’t actually find a solution to it either, because Pinterest (I guess) caught up with it and after a day, all signs of the image was gone and not to be found.

Removal Instructions For Pinterest Virus

Update: Here’s a few more instructions on how to deal with Pinterest viruses:

Please feel free to add links to more info in the comments if you find some answers!

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Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer is the creator of Doktor Spinn, Mad Science Digital, PR of Sweden and Digital PR School (launching in 2015). Join his VIP email list The Loop here.
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer

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Here you’ll find reactions, insights and stories from the awesome Doktor Spinn readers!

How to comment: I have a “living room policy” for comments. Be cool and add your thoughts to the discussion as if we’re chilling in my living room. Critical comments are welcome, but bring some positive energy to the discussion — or I won’t add your comment.

Great post, I enjoyed ready reading it, Keep posting good stuff like this.

Great post, I enjoyed ready reading it, Keep posting good stuff like this.

As some of you guys pointed out on Twitter, pretty funny with a spam comment on this post! :)

carlancher

Hi Jerry! Great article. 

Pin Frustration

I got a Pinterest virus as well, and it’s an even bigger pain in the butt! I have no idea how it happened, but overnight I went from having 3 boards that I’d created myself, to 120 boards, most of them having one image and most of those images being weight loss ads. Now I guess I’m stuck deleting the boards one by one. :(

Yeah, they need to take care of those viruses. I think Pinterest is a relaxing and killing-time-kind-of-service, so annoying elements ruin the experience very easily.

Yeah, they need to take care of those viruses. I think Pinterest is a relaxing and killing-time-kind-of-service, so annoying elements ruin the experience very easily.

Dobie

I believe my friend and I were the victim of a Pinterest hijacking of sorts. Both my friend and I had clicked on links that took us to an ad site instead of the recipe we clicked on and we both ended up with very large ads in our facebook pages that were flashy and annoying, complete with a banner at top and bottom the width of our page. Some of the ads played video ads without you even clicking on them and you couldnt stop them. A fake chat box with a sleazily dressed gal saying she was bored in our area also popped up that you could not X out of, if you tried to close it you would have another page open that was an ad for porn sites. Near as I can figure is that we were hijacked to another page where these things were loaded, making them malware…just say no to ALL fb apps, I have had problems with nearly every one including Farm games….this one snuck in by receiving an invite via my regular mail and it never made me do the usual facebook app agreement and then it started posting all over my fb page every move I made on Pinterest….annoying at best.

Jocelyn

has anyone actually ended up with a virus on their computer as a result of Pinterest?

I think not, not on their actual desktops. But it should be possible if this source is correct:

“It’s not well known outside the security world, but hackers have been able to create special image files that can infect PCs with viruses when they’re viewed in a browser. They key for them to pull this off is to get their malicious image files on a web site that users will go to. Because Pinterest specifically allows users to pin images, there’s a chance that hackers will find a way to get their malicious image files on Pinterest boards. As someone managing a Pinterest board, your biggest risk around this is if an attacker is able to infect an image file on another site that you’ve linked to. This kind of attack hasn’t been seen yet, but it is risk and there’s no indication that Pinterest offers specific protections against this.”

http://windmillnetworking.com/2012/04/11/pinterest-security-risks/

Jocelyn

has anyone actually ended up with a virus on their computer as a result of Pinterest?

I think not, not on their actual desktops. But it should be possible if this source is correct:

“It’s not well known outside the security world, but hackers have been able to create special image files that can infect PCs with viruses when they’re viewed in a browser. They key for them to pull this off is to get their malicious image files on a web site that users will go to. Because Pinterest specifically allows users to pin images, there’s a chance that hackers will find a way to get their malicious image files on Pinterest boards. As someone managing a Pinterest board, your biggest risk around this is if an attacker is able to infect an image file on another site that you’ve linked to. This kind of attack hasn’t been seen yet, but it is risk and there’s no indication that Pinterest offers specific protections against this.”

http://windmillnetworking.com/2012/04/11/pinterest-security-risks/

Liz

I lost today on my iPhone my entire calendar , notes and a lot of contacts including my emails stuffed and some texts. Still could be more problems I’m yet to discover. Such a mess. Deleted Pinterest app.

Sorry to hear that. One can’t be too careful. Hope you manage to restore what can be restored.

BillieHawley

@Pin Frustration Me too!!!  I can’t get rid of it. I even emailed Pinterest.  Did you ever get rid of it?

BillieHawley No, but it did disappear by itself after a week…

Dobie Annoying, indeed.