Facebook scams still top security threat

Most common celeb name used to scam with in November was Rhianna
Kerry Butters

December 8, 2011

Security experts at AVG have published their latest weekly threat update, which sees the usual Facebook survey scams continuing to top the charts of the most prevalent threats.

This week has seen the scams taking the form of a video which promises to give all the “lurid” details of Aston Kutcher and Demi Moore’s divorce.

“And, of course the standard bait, such as phony gift card offers and ANYTHING with the word ‘teen’ and ‘video’ in the headline, continues to circulate,” AVG warn.

These kind of scams usually lead to a survey when clicked upon, and often these ask for details such as mobile numbers and sign unsuspecting surfers up to premium rate services.

The most common celebrity name used in such scams for November was Rhianna.

AVG have also discovered this week a fake imgur site which works in a similar way, asking users to fill in a survey in order to access videos.

Imgur is a free image hosting site that is used by millions of people daily and serves over thirty terabytes of images per day.

The phoney site informs users that in order to access a video, they must confirm their identity as the material is only suitable for adults.

Further threats include a rise in exploit kits, pieces of customizable malicious code that scammers employ.

AVG say they have recently found spam that includes links to malicious sites which then download the Blackhole exploit kit code to the victim machine.

The spam usually contains tempting offers to goad victims into visiting the sites, such as money off coupons, competition wins and so on.

Once the exploit has been downloaded, it can carry out a number of operations such as key logging and installing rogue security products.

Rogue security products trick users into believing they have a virus on their computer and ask for a fee to fix the problem.

It’s recommended that computer users install trusted security products and ignore any pop-ups that appear from an unrecognised vendor. They should then seek advice from an IT professional to uninstall both the rogue software and any accompanying malware.

AVG recommend a visit to Virus Total for a comprehensive list of legitimate anti-virus software.

The security report also outlines recent lures which include email from the Electronic Payments Association and the IRS in the US.

These of course promise victims sums of cash which they weren’t expecting and are of course fake.

Other scams which are growing in popularity are those that promise riches by working from home. These have recently become more sophisticated and many authentic-looking sites have popped up that pretend to be television news websites.

This is intended to add some credence to the claims made and often appear first in the form of a link in an email.

The “faux news sites” are also coded in order to insert the name of the victim’s location to add authenticity.

As ever, it’s recommended that any website which asks for details such as a mobile number should be closed immediately, along with the browser.

Whilst awareness of scams such as those detailed above is rising, they remain hugely popular and will continue to do so whilst the cyber crooks are raking in the cash from them.

Common sense is the best approach to any of the threats – don’t click on videos and images promising to dish the celebrity dirt or any other sensational claim.

Email scams should be similarly ignored, if it sounds too good to be true, then it most definitely is when it comes over the internet.


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