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Satnam Narang | 27 May 2014 16:21:34 GMT

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Symantec has discovered a paid retweet service targeting aspiring artists, managers and bands on Twitter with the promise of retweets from real users. These scammers are charging victims 50 cents for every "person" they hire to retweet every tweet for 30 days. Despite claiming that each account is operated by a real person, the service consists of little more than automated accounts, also known as Twitter spam bots.
 

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Figure 1. Retweet service offering pitched to managers of artists
 

As you would expect, numbers define popularity on social media—from the number of Facebook "likes" to the number of Twitter followers and Twitter retweets....

Binny Kuriakose | 16 May 2014 15:02:41 GMT

May 13, 2014 witnessed the release of another posthumous compilation album of Michael Jackson recordings, named Xscape. This reworked collection of Jackson tracks was highly anticipated by music lovers, ever since its announcement in March, 2014. News of the album release has once again made Michael Jackson a hot topic and, unsurprisingly, spammers have been quick to exploit this.

This spam campaign uses a very simple email which is crafted to appear like personal mail. It uses Michael Jackson’s name and some of his song titles to create intriguing subject lines. The body of the email contains a link along with a generic comment. A name is used to sign the email message, as seen in Figure 1, in an effort to give the impression that an acquaintance has sent you an email with a link to the new Jackson album. The URL in the body of the email redirects to a fake pharmacy domain which promises cheap medicines without prescription.

The following are subject lines seen in...

Binny Kuriakose | 09 May 2014 02:42:51 GMT

On May 11, 2014, many countries will celebrate Mother’s Day. Plenty of online articles have been giving gifts ideas and advice for making the day special for mom. Companies have also been sending a huge number of promotional emails with a special message about Mother’s Day. Unsurprisingly, spammers have been exploiting this occasion to send out a fresh batch of spam.

Symantec started observing Mother’s Day spam from early April and we have seen a steady increase in the volume of messages ever since. Previous Mother’s Day spam emails often stuck to certain categories. Spam emails offering flower deliveries, jewelry, personalized messages, coupons, and other gifts for mothers were the most common. Survey and product replica spam were also observed in the past.

The following are the major Mother’s Day themed spam campaigns seen this year.

Flowers for Mother
A beautiful bunch of flowers is something any mother will love and spammers use this...

Satnam Narang | 01 May 2014 23:08:41 GMT

Earlier today, photo-messaging application Snapchat unveiled new features that enable users to chat directly within the application, a frequently requested feature. The addition of this feature, while an improvement, provides the individuals responsible for Snapchat spam a new feature to play with in their efforts to target users of the service.

History of Snapchat Spam

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Figure 1. Previous iterations of porn and dating spam on Snapchat

We have written ...

Tsering_Paljor | 23 Apr 2014 13:24:55 GMT

Contributor: Binny Kuriakose

Symantec has recently detected phishing emails related to the Heartbleed Bug. The phisher attempts to gather information by posing as a US military insurance service with a message about the Heartbleed bug.

The Heartbleed bug is a recently discovered security vulnerability affecting OpenSSL versions 1.0.1 to 1.0.1f. This vulnerability was fixed in OpenSSL 1.0.1g. Symantec’s security advisory gives more details on the bug and offers remediation steps.

Spammers and phishers are known to use trending news and popular topics to disguise their payloads. In the case of phishing emails, phishers often cite security concerns to legitimize and disguise their social engineering methods. The payloads of these emails attempt to compel the messages’ recipients into divulging sensitive information.

In this...

Binny Kuriakose | 16 Apr 2014 16:51:58 GMT

Contributor: Azam Raza

Easter, like all other celebrations is meant to be a day of jubilation, which of course means gifts, shopping, and spreading cheer. However, cheer is not the only thing that is being spread this holiday. Spammers have also started spreading their handiwork. With just a few days left before Easter, the volume of spam is on the rise.

Each year Symantec observes certain categories of spam using Easter as a theme and this year is no different. Let’s take a look at some of the different types of spam Symantec sees year-over-year, as well as some samples from this year.

Replica goods spam
With gifts being at the core of many major celebrations, product spam (replica goods spam in particular) is the spam category Symantec observes the most. In this spam, items such as fake watches and jewelry are promoted using catchy subject lines and product images. Email header examples include:

From: "WorldOfWatches"...

Eric Park | 16 Apr 2014 12:58:18 GMT

A variation on the 419 email scam is being used by fraudsters to take advantage of couples desperate to adopt a child. Once they are carefully lured into a fake adoption process, the victims are then asked for money to cover legal and administrative fees.

While most recent 419 scams rely more on the naivety of victims than any ingenuity on the part of the spammer, some fraudsters are beginning to make more of an effort to directly communicate with the victim to secure their confidence. Their scams are well researched, convincingly presented and may borrow stories from real life to make their stories more authentic and better able to withstand a little scrutiny.

While fake adoption scams have been seen from time to time before, in this instance Symantec observed real life...

Avdhoot Patil | 11 Apr 2014 11:11:40 GMT

Politicians are frequently featured on phishing sites and in light of the ongoing general election in India, phishers are starting to target Indian users by using a local politician and his party as bait. 

Symantec recently observed a phishing site which spoofs Facebook’s appearance and includes Arvind Kejariwal, the former chief minister of New Delhi and leader of the Aam Aadmi Party. The phishing site was hosted on servers based in Lansing, Michigan in the US. 

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Figure 1. A fake Facebook “like” button and a picture of Arvind Kejariwal on the phishing site

As seen in the previous image, the phishing site, titled “Unite With Us Against Corruption”, uses a poster of the Aam Aadmi Party along with a fake Facebook “like” button. The site’s background image is a picture of the party’s leader Arvind Kejariwal...

Satnam Narang | 04 Apr 2014 14:56:45 GMT

Earlier this week, a large number of Twitter accounts were compromised and used by spammers to spread “miracle diet” spam. The compromised accounts included public figures, as well as average users of the social networking service.

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Figure 1. Twitter miracle diet spam

Déjà vu
Diet spam is quite common and can been found on various social networking sites and Twitter is no stranger to this problem. Over the years, we’ve seen many different campaigns try to capitalize on the latest miracle diet craze. In this particular case, spammers are trying to peddle garcinia cambogia extract through a page designed to look identical to the real Women’s Health website.

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Joji Hamada | 11 Mar 2014 15:22:59 GMT
A new spam campaign with an information-stealing malware attachment has been circulating since March 7, 2014. While spam emails are typically sent to many people, in this campaign, the spammer has limited their targets to administrators of online Japanese shopping sites.
 
The attacker may have targeted these recipients for various reasons. As most online stores provide contact details on their Web page, they become easy targets since their email addresses can be easily harvested by crawling sites. The attacker could also have targeted the recipients to get the companies’ account details in order to steal data maintained by the stores. The attacker may have also wanted to compromise the shopping sites in order to carry out further attacks against the store’s visitors.
 
The malware, detected as Infostealer.Ayufos, is a basic...