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Security Response

Big Brother in Social Networking Scam

Created: 03 Mar 2010 18:28:56 GMT • Updated: 23 Jan 2014 18:29:05 GMT
Mathew Maniyara's picture
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“Big Brother Brazil” is a Brazilian reality TV program adapted from the popular Big Brother television series. The show is about a group of people living together in a purpose-built Big Brother house, isolated from the outside world, while being monitored by cameras 24x7. The television series is viewed by scores of people during primetime hours, but live feeds are also available from multiple cameras in the house on the Web. Part of the popularity is due to the fact that some of the videos are suitable only for adult viewing.

Symantec has observed phishing attacks—against social networking websites—claiming to have Web applications that will provide live feeds of the show that are available for viewing. Users are asked to enter their credentials and add the application in order to watch the show live. The sheer amount of interest in the show will lure some people into entering their credentials. The Big Brother Brazil social networking application comprised 4% of all targeted applications in January 2010. To learn more about other targeted applications in social networking, please refer to The Phishing of Applications on Social Networking Websites.

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Internet users are advised to follow best practices to avoid phishing attacks. Here are some basic tips for avoiding online scams:

•    Do not click on suspicious links in email messages.
•    Check the URL of the website and make sure that it belongs to the brand.
•    Type the domain name of your brand’s website directly into your browser’s address bar rather than following any link.
•    Frequently update your security software, such as Norton Internet Security 2010, which protects you from online phishing.


My thanks to co-author Anand Muralidharan.