GFI Software recently released its VIPRE® Report for March 2012, a collection of the 10 most prevalent threat detections encountered during the last month. GFI Labs documented several spam attacks and malware-laden email campaigns infiltrating users’ systems under the guise of communications purporting to be from well-known companies and promotions for popular products and services. Google™, LinkedIn®, Skype™ and the video game Mass Effect™ 3 were among the brands exploited by cyber criminals in order to attract more victims.
“Taking advantage of the notoriety of companies, celebrities and major events is a tactic cyber criminals continue to use because it works,” said Christopher Boyd, senior threat researcher at GFI Software. “They know that Internet users are bombarded with countless emails every day, and these scammers prey on our curiosity and our reflex-like tendency to click on links and open emails that look like they’re coming from a company we know and trust.”
Google served as the hook for two particularly nasty scams uncovered by GFI in March. One SEO poisoning attack told users that “Google systems” had detected malware on their computer and directed them to download a rogue antivirus application. Meanwhile, spammers inundated mailboxes with messages containing fake announcements for “Google Pharmacy,” a phony service touted as a “pharmaceutical interface for Google.” The body of the email consisted of a single image rather than text in order to circumvent spam filters. Victims who visited the URL contained in the image spam were directed to Pharmacy Express, a site linked to spam attacks since 2004.
Users of popular social networking site, LinkedIn, received fake invitation reminders redirecting them to a BlackHole exploit and infected their machines with Cridex, a Trojan that has targeted banks, social networks and CAPTCHA tests. Other cyber criminals targeted Skype users with a spam campaign claiming to offer free Skype credit, but instead, directed users to a compromised site hosting malicious Java exploits.
Finally, March has been awash with scams and cyber crime efforts revolving around the launch of Mass Effect 3, one of the most eagerly awaited games of the year so far. Among them, GFI Labs covered reports of users being duped with fake alternative ending downloads for the game, taking advantage of the well-publicized intention of the game's maker to clarify the ending, which has been broadly discussed online. The fake downloads eventually lead users to a myriad of fake surveys and other affiliate marketing scams.
“If something seems off, users should trust their instincts and investigate further,” continued Boyd. “The important thing for everyone to remember is that the Internet provides us with the ability to easily double check every link or attachment that we come across with a simple web search. Pay attention to details such as link URLs and scrutinize where they are directing you if there is any doubt. This may sound like common sense, but having this mind set can often be the difference between avoiding a stressful attack and losing valuable time, money and personal information.”
Five Cloud Computing Trends Affecting Cloud Strategy Through 2015 Trends that will be accelerating, shifting or reaching a tipping point over the next three years and that users must factor into their planning processes.
Six Reasons Windows 8 Could Be a Threat to the iPad Reasons why Windows 8 is fierce competition.
Worldwide Software as a Service Revenue Expected to Reach $14.5 Billion in 2012 SaaS revenue in 2012 is forecast to increase 17.9 percent over 2011.
With the end of the year fast approaching, now is an apt time to reflect back on 2014 and look ahead to what's coming in 2015. ... More >>
Making the right investments can minimize the cyber risks your organization faces, but this requires looking at the complete picture and not just a few pieces. ... More >>
In reviewing this list, continue to ask yourself how to apply the advice to your organization and its unique cybersecurity ecosystem. ... More >>