Report Says Cybercriminals Targeted Users of Major Social Networking Sites in April


GFI Software, a provider of web-monitoring software and security, has released a report citing the 10 most prevalent cyber-threats detected in April. The report says cybercriminals exploited people who use social networking sites Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest to spread malware and spam surveys.

"In the same way that the popularity of social networking sites makes them a widely accepted tool for businesses to reach customers and elevate brand awareness, it also appeals to cybercriminals seeking a large pool of captive users to be targeted for malware and spam attacks," said Christopher Boyd, senior threat researcher at GFI Software. "Established sites like Facebook and Twitter have long been a breeding ground for new cyberattacks, but now we are seeing scammers taking an interest in the popularity of newer sites like Pinterest in order to catch victims off guard and trick them into clicking on something they shouldn't."

Cybercriminals used Twitter to send spam fake antivirus applications. They hacked some users accounts and tweeted a link saying "must-see" from their accounts.

Followers who clicked on the links went to a site infected with a fake antivirus program. When installed, the program constantly alerted users that their computer was infected and asked them to pay a fee to clean their machine.

Cybercriminals also used Twitter to exploit Pinterest users. They created a Twitter account called "Pinterestdep" and offered Visa gift cards to users who gave feedback about Pinterest. Users, instead of being directed to a user feedback form, went to a site asking them to to complete up to 11 reward offers and to refer three friends.

On Tumblr, scammers sent users who mistakenly typed in "tublr" into their web brower to a message claiming they were a "daily winner." Like the Pinterest scam, the scammers asked victims to fill out survey and complete offers to win a prize.

"With countless studies being released which point to the regularity with which users are visiting their favorite social networking sites, it should come as no surprise that cybercriminals see these sites as prime targets for their attacks as they look to reach as many people as possible," Boyd said.

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