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Security Response

Scammers Love Football and Social Media Themes

Created: 28 Sep 2012 14:48:20 GMT • Updated: 23 Jan 2014 18:12:15 GMT • Translations available: 日本語, Español
Mathew Maniyara's picture
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Contributor: Avdhoot Patil

Phishers have recently gained a lot of interest in football. After the scam on the 2014 FIFA World Cup, they have set their eyes on footballer Lionel Messi. In September 2012, Symantec observed the use of various social-networking themes in phishing. A number of these themes featured Lionel Messi. The phishing sites were hosted on free web-hosting sites.

In the first example, the background image of the phishing site was of Lionel Messi and the theme promoted football club Barcelona FC. On the other hand, the legitimate social-networking site in question does not provide users with any theme. End users were prompted to login in order to gain access to Messi’s social networking page. Of course, this is only a ploy and there is no gain for users from a phishing site. After the login credentials are entered, the phishing site redirected to the legitimate social-networking site.

Other phishing sites contained attractive themes termed as “Color”. A message in the phishing page claimed that users may change their social-networking profile theme by entering login credentials. If customers fall victim to these phishing sites, phishers would have successfully stolen their information for identity theft.

Internet users are advised to follow best practices to avoid phishing attacks:

  • Do not click on suspicious links in email messages.
  • Avoid providing any personal information when answering an email.
  • Never enter personal information in a pop-up page or screen.
  • When entering personal or financial information, ensure the website is encrypted with an SSL certificate by looking for the padlock, ‘https’, or the green address bar.
  • Frequently update your security software (such as Norton Internet Security 2012) which protects you from online phishing.