Category Archives: Cybercrime

When It Sounds Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is (A Scam)

When It Sounds Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is (A Scam)

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When It Sounds Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is (A Scam)

How safe was your family online in the last year? According to Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report 2014, they weren’t as safe as you might think. The study analyses threat data from over 157 countries, more than 41.5 million attack sensors and a database of over 60,000 vulnerabilities, making it the most comprehensive picture of internet security in the world – and it says mobile users are falling for more “too good to be true” scams than ever.

Bad behavior 

An incredible 38% of mobile users have experienced cybercrime, and it’s often down to their own behaviour. More than half of users store sensitive files online, a quarter mix personal and work files in their cloud storage accounts, and – most startling – around one in five mobile users share their passwords with family and friends. But, even without these mistakes, there are some big trends to be aware of.

While some scams have declined in popularity, by far the leading type on social media in 2013 was the fake offer, which made up an amazing 81% of all scams. These offers all look too good to be true – because of course they are – yet a staggering number of people still fall for the lure of something for nothing. Fake offer scams come in multiple forms, all with different intended targets.

Too good to be true 

For teens, it can be the offer of free calls and texts. One bogus app claimed to deliver free minutes to social media users – but only if they entered their login details and forwarded the offer to ten friends. Other social media posts play on celebrity culture, posting links of the Facebook pages of actors and pop stars and using the accounts of those who click through to lure their friends with realistic-looking messages. It’s a blend of login phishing and old-fashioned spam, and it’s startlingly effective at rapidly propagating a scam around social networks and app stores.

Another continuing scam involves Facebook Likes. A post such as “Gain 100 followers by clicking this link and filling out a survey” might well direct the user to a legitimate page or a genuine app, but the action makes the scammer money through affiliate links or advertising. It goes without saying that either the free Likes never materialise, or if they do that they’re made up of bots, fake accounts or other compromised users.

For adults, the lure is often dating. Fake users will contact those looking for love, sending compliments and posting provocative photos, followed by a link that leads to a webcam site where credit card details are requested in order to get a few days “free” access – which quickly becomes very expensive access. Many people still fall for such scams, often choosing to ignore the obvious common tell that their new acquaintance is coming on quite strong.

Staying safe 

In the grand scheme of things social media and mobile scams might be small change, yet they greatly affect the individual users involved – and they’re so easily avoidable. If something seems too good to be true – be it an offer on Facebook, an amazing free app or a message from a supermodel – it almost certainly is too good to be true. Convincing yourself otherwise can be a costly mistake to make.

Want peace of mind to keep private information safe as you and your family learn, shop and share? Secure what’s most important with Norton 360 Family Premier.

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Source and Copyright: Norton blogs.

Scammers’ Tricks You Don’t Want To Be Fooled By

Scammers’ Tricks You Don’t Want To Be Fooled By

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Scammers’ Tricks You Don’t Want To Be Fooled By

Unlike April Fools, which only happens once a year, scammers make a living off of fooling users 365 days a year. Here are a number of tricks that scammers use.

Phishing Scams: Whether it’s pretending to be your financial institution or a tweet from someone you know, asking, “Is this photo of you?”, phishing scams are after your login credentials to sites that are important to you. Recently, users of Google Drive and Google Docs were targeted in a sophisticated phishing scam. Phishing remains one of the most common scams used because they work, and as these scams become more innovative, they will continue to be one of the

Free Stuff: Who wouldn’t want a free iPhone or $100 gift card? Scammers know that free stuff is enticing to most people, which is why these types of scams never go out of season. As you might expect, nothing is truly free on social networks, so you should always be careful about sharing a photo, clicking on links, filling out surveys, or giving away any personal information.

Diet Craze: Every year, there’s a new diet craze making waves. Over the years, these diet pills and drinks have been pushed out in a torrent of email spam. However, as social networks have become more popular, scammers have begun using these services as vehicles to peddle the latest diet craze. Snapchat users recently saw this first hand. While the offer of free diet pills might seem appealing, it is often followed by unwanted charges in excess of $100.

Mobile Scareware: With more smartphones in circulation today, an old trick has found new life on mobile devices. The idea of “scareware” was to instill fear in the user,  convincing them to download additional software. Android users recently saw scareware adsclaiming that their device was infected with a threat known as “Tapsnake”. This scare tactic led to a set of instructions on how to download software claiming to be mobile antivirus. Only install applications from trusted app stores and use mobile security software from reputable vendors.

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Source and Copyright: Norton blogs.

Cybercrime News: Conficker is Spamming, Weak Economy Drives Crime, Why We Click on Spam and More

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Conficker is Spamming, Weak Economy Drives Crime, Why We Click on Spam and More

There’s evidence that the Conficker botnet (oh, did you really think they distributed those millions of bots without a plan to monetize them?) is now being used on a “for hire” basis. A story from the UK referencing a new report from Cisco, states that malware called Waledec is being distributed via Conficker’s millions of infected computers. Waledec uses your system to send out spam and spread itself to other computers. Before you pull your hair out in frustration, just make sure you’ve got an up-to-date copy of Norton Internet Security or another comprehensive security product on your computers. Check your kid’s computers including any new netbooks you’ve received and scan your USB or thumb drives for signs of infection.

Will the poor economic times turn IT professionals to cybercrime? It stands to reason as national unemployment rates soar above 9% this summer that people are tempted by opportunities they might normally reject. Witness the increase in “work at home” scams. That’s one type of cybercrime to be on the watch for. Here’s a helpful article from the Better Business Bureau with details on the typical ads you see online and why “work at home” opportunities almost never are real.

More typical is the idea that if someone’s talents are not utilized by legitimate business, they will be compelled into whatever is available. This story (also stemming from Cisco’s Cybercrime report) contains specific examples of individuals who turned to cybercrime simply to pay the bills.

Last week, Symantec held a panel with law enforcement officials to discuss the current state of Cybercrime. I was most interested to hear that in Nigerian neighborhoods, the cybercriminals are living in palatial homes and earn many thousands of US dollars a week from sending us spam and phishing attacks. The locals make an average of $3,000 annually, so it’s not surprising that in these communities, the local cybercriminal is a respected and admired person.

What drives spam (currently over 90% of the world’s email) is simply that people actually do click on the links and respond to the offers. If everyone stopped responding in some fashion, the criminals would move on to other opportunities. A recent Message Labs study tried to understand what we could do to minimize our risk of receiving spam. The researchers found that typing your email address with the @ symbol in an online page’s comments increased your risk of getting spam dramatically. A simple fix? Use “at” to replace the “@”.

So why do we click? Another new study says 30% of the time it was confusion (“made a mistake”/”don’t know”). Another large reason is to reply to the spam (“stop sending me this” requests, I would imagine.) Never respond to the spam sender if only because that confirms yours is a valid email address. 12% of those who click on spam want the service or product and another 6% just want to see “what would happen.” Ugh.

It’s going to take a team effort, folks, to get cybercrime in hand. A few reminders:

  1. Using security software is not optional. Would those who take the risk to run an online computer without protection drive their cars without brakes and insurance? Given that today’s cybercriminal can destroy your financial life, you shouldn’t risk giving them that opportunity.
  2. Don’t take candy from strangers. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. There’s a sucker born every day. You get the idea. It pays to be cynical when you go online. Don’t click links in your email unless you are 100% confident you know the sender and the link is legitimate.
  3. If you are looking for job opportunities, use appropriate resources to find job leads. Some newer options include sites like UnitedWeWork.org which combines job listings from a number of Fortune 500 employers. And there are the longtime resources such as CareerBuilder and Monster (where I found my position at Symantec way back when.)

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Source and Copyright: Norton blogs.

Cybercrime is big, troubling business

Cybercrime

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I was surfing through some security news this weekend and ran into an interesting article on SecurityFocus. The article references a report that states that the reported damages from cybercrime and fraud rose by more then 20% from 2006 to 2007.

One interesting piece of information turned up by the report is that while identity theft is the most commonly cited example of cybercrime, other criminal activities like auction fraud are causing greater monetary damage.

This is alarming to me both as a consumer and as a developer of security software. As a consumer if I want to buy something on eBay is it safe to do so? If a seller has a very good reputation does that make him more likely to be the target of a hacker who wants to hijack his account in order to create fraudulent auctions? I’m not sure how often, if ever, this happens but it is still a troubling thought.

Alternately, as a developer what can be done to protect the consumer in this case? Of course protecting the integrity of both the buyer’s and seller’s accounts is critical. If the accounts aren’t compromised then reputation systems will eventually weed out the bad apples and keep the incidence of fraud fairly low. Could you detect a fraudulent auction though? Are they setup similar to cookie-cutter spam messages? Do they contain lots of spelling errors? I’m sure eBay does a lot of work in trying to weed out auctions that are suspect.

Additionally, beyond the actual monetary damages report, what damage is done when we live and work in a world where we aren’t sure we can trust the party on the other end of our transactions? Alan Greenspan has stated that “the vast majority of trades must rest on mutual trust and only indirectly on the law.” If Cybercrime continues to expand and become more entrenched in the fabric of the internet shopping experience and consumers become more skeptical about doing business online what effect does that have on the global economy as a whole?

If you purchase from reputable vendors shopping on the internet is a very safe and simple thing to do, but the increase of reported cybercrime damages is a troubling trend not only in the number of dollars that are stolen but also in the effect it has on consumer trust and confidence in internet commerce.

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Source and Copyright: Norton blogs.