Don’t fall for free movies links posted in Facebook comments!

|August 14, 2015 0

BANGALORE, INDIA: Symantec recently found out that Facebook comments sections on Buzzfeed, ESPN, and Huffington Post articles have become a popular target for scammers spreading links to spyware and adware, including tech support scam pages, in recent months.

Be skeptical of “free stuff”
The scam comments on these articles claim to offer free access to movies that have recently been released in theaters. The idea of being able to watch a high-definition version of a movie currently in theaters is used as a lure that scammers hope will pique the curiosity of people reading the articles.

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If a user clicks on one of these links, they’re redirected to a site that claims to host the advertised movies. And people are clicking these links; one link that claimed to let users watch the movie for “free” received nearly 5,000 clicks. Attempting to play the video results in a redirect through a site called AdCash, an international advertising network that has been known to host advertisements that are malicious.

Don’t fall into the trap of technical support scams
Technical support scams aren’t new. But, nowadays, the scammers  buy up ads and use scare tactics to convince victims to grant them access to their computers. These scare tactics may display a pop-up that claims that a virus has been detected on the compromised computer or device, or that the computer or device’s operating system has crashed. The pop-up may also include fake information about how the victim can solve the problem.

The AdCash redirects, mentioned previously, lead to technical support scams not only for Windows systems, but for Apple’s Mac OS X computers and iPhones as well.

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In addition to a graphical warning message, one website loaded an .mp3 with an “Important security message” advising the user to call the number on the website to be guided on how to remove the “adware, spyware, virus” from the computer.

Beware of fake pages and edited comments
While investigating this particular scam, Symantec observed a few interesting tactics that scammers used. First, the original comment posted to Buzzfeed, ESPN, or Huffington Post was scam-free. Five to ten minutes after posting the original comment, the scammers would edit their comment and include the blurb about free movies along with links to those movies. This may have been done to evade some automated spam filters.

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