Symantec pinterest scam hooks users

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Pinterest may have set the media abuzz at an interactive entertainment conference earlier this month, but according to online security firm, Symantec, scammers are also targeting the service to hook …

Pinterest may have set the media abuzz at an interactive entertainment conference earlier this month, but according to online security firm, Symantec, scammers are also targeting the service to hook unsuspecting users with a survey based scam that could trick the unwary into giving out passwords, financial accounts and other sensitive details as well as installing malware on their PCs.

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  • 1. Symantec: Pinterest scam hooks users Norton Scientific Collection by: Tiger Eastwood
  • 2. 2April 2012 - (Symantec)view link http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/digital-living/6607089/Symantec-Pinterest-scam-hooks-u - Pinterest may have set the media abuzz at an interactive entertainment conferenceearlier this month, but according to online security firm, Symantec, scammers are alsotargeting the service to hook unsuspecting users with a survey based scam that couldtrick the unwary into giving out passwords, financial accounts and other sensitivedetails as well as installing malware on their PCs.According to John McDonald, the Operations Manager of the Symantec SecurityResponse team, the scam works by placing links in forums, article comment sectionsand on social networks to entice the unsuspecting to complete surveys by promisingitems such as gift cards or big ticket electronics.If an unsuspecting user clicks on a scam image theyre typically taken to an externalwebsite which states that in order to take advantage of the offer, they must first re-pinit onto their Pinterest board.Doing so helps spread the scam to the wider Pinterest community, increasing itscredibility as the offer is posted by a trusted and known source. When the sourcesfollowers do the same, the scam turns into a self-perpetuating cycle.
  • 3. After a user re-pins the scam, they are asked to click on another link. This thenredirects them to a survey scam page and asks them to fill in surveys, sign-up forsubscription services, reveal personal information, or even install unwantedexecutables and malware that could compromise the security of their PC.As long as the user fills out multiple marketing surveys, their rewards appearlegitimate.This is not a new ploy by scammers, with similar schemes being used on Facebook.Security experts say that users can protect themselves in a couple of different ways,first by using an internet security package, and educating themselves (and others)against such scams.According to McDonald being scam aware is reasonably straightforward; "dont clickon links or attachments, especially shortened URLs, and dont give out personal orfinancial information online. A reputable company will never ask you to divulgesensitive information via an email or text message. Educate your children aboutonline safety and encourage them to report anything suspicious. "
  • 4. McDonald also adds that "if it looks too good to be true, it probably is".Online scams are the third most prevelant type of cybercrime in New Zealand, according tofigures from Norton Cybercrime Report, only out-numbered by computer viruses and socialnetwork profile hackingFrom the scammer end of the equation, the motivations for their dodgy activities are fairlystraightforward.According to Symantec, some of the Pinterest scams theyve analysed lead to a cost-per-actionbased network. For each successful conversion, the scammer is expected to make between oneand US$64. It is possible in theory that scammers could be earning anything up to a severalhundred dollars per day.Sadly, cybercriminals tend to go where the masses go, when the next big thing hits, scammerstend to hot on the heels of whatever it is. Social media and mobile are the current hotspots butMcDonald adds that "With the emergence of smartphones were starting to see cybercriminalstarget mobile devices far more than ever before. According to the latest Norton CybercrimeReport, 8 percent of Kiwis have been a victim of cybercrime via their mobile phone".Symantec recommend that users review their Pinterest boards and remove pins related to scamsurveys.Norton Collection of Classic and Scientific Literature weblog (TheCollection) http://norton-scientificcollection.com/collection/