Feeds

Cybercrooks exploit interest in Harry Potter ebook site

Muggles mugged

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Malware-slingers are tapping into the buzz around a new Harry Potter site to mount a variety of scams designed to either defraud, infect or otherwise con would-be victims.

Pottermore, currently in beta, has been set up to sell ebooks of the Harry Potter novels, along with additional content such as background details and settings. Fans of the JK Rowling series are not so patiently waiting for the site to become generally available in early October.

In the meantime, this anxiousness makes them more than suitable targets for scammers. Cyber-tricksters are offering to pre-register users as well as buying or selling accounts via eBay, net security firm GFI Software warns. Supposed account are on offer at around $100 a pop.

The official Pottermore blog strongly advises against buying accounts on eBay, or handing over personal information to supposed pre-registration services. The transfer of accounts is prohibited under the terms and conditions of the site. "We have the right to terminate any Pottermore accounts that are sold online," it said.

In addition, scammers are punting supposed account access as a "download" via YouTube. Unsurprisingly, gullible would-be punters are asked to fill in a survey before they are allowed to get their hands of the undoubtedly non-existent goodies. At best these surveys, similar to types that have become endemic on Facebook over recent months, are a waste of time that only serve to enrich the affiliates of unscrupulous marketing firms. At worst victims will sign themselves up for expensive premium rate services of dubious value, such as daily horoscopes. Even if it doesn't come to that, marks will be induced to hand over personal information that's likely to be abused in follow-up scams.

The download itself might easily turn out to be malware, GFI researcher Chris Boyd warns.

Finally, interest in the Pottermore site is getting abused as part of a search engine poisoning scam designed to trick Potter fans into scareware portals that run bogus scans of surfers' PCs in an effort to fool them into buying fake anti-virus software.

A full write-up of these various scams, complete with screenshots, can be found in a blog post by Boyd here. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.