Feeds

Survey scammers fling spam at Pinterest punters

Black Hat Tools offers spring bot collection...

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Cybercrooks have latched on the success of social networking site Pinterest by launching a variety of money-making scams.

Just like Facebook before it, Pinterest has become a haven for survey scams. Would-be marks are invited to complete surveys under the pretext that they might win an iPad or obtain a discount voucher. In reality, they end up revealing personal information to unscrupulous marketing firms or (worse) signing up for mobile phone subscription services of dubious utility, such as daily horoscopes. In some cases these scams are even used to distribute malware.

Trend Micro reports that fake Starbucks discount card offers have become a particularly prevalent lure for survey scams on Pinterest.

Miscreants who promote survey scams profit through affiliate marketing funds maintained by dodgy marketing outfits. However, some lead to a cost-per-action (CPA) based network, in which case each successful sales conversion makes the scammer between $1 and $64 (£0.63 to £40), according to Symantec. The security firm speculates that a scammer might be earning a few hundred dollars each day from these scams.

Pinterest, a pinboard-style image- and photo-sharing social networking website, has experienced huge growth since its launch in 2010. These developments have not gone unnoticed among the ranks of cyber criminals and black hat marketers. Black Hat Tools, a digital underground site that built its reputation by selling suites for spamming Twitter and Facebook, has begun offering tools for spamming Pinterest. The charmingly titled "Pinterest bot collection" (presumably straight off the runways at Paris fashion shows) can be yours for $249, mobile security specialist Cloudmark reports.

Andrew Conway, lead software engineer at Cloudmark, commented: "In many ways, the survival of Pinterest largely depends on how successfully it can control these inevitable spam attacks and furthermore, how effectively it can respond to those criminals who are currently testing their defences."

A Pinterest spokesperson said:

As a growing service, Pinterest is not immune to challenges faced by sites across the web including spam. However, it is a tremendous priority for us to quickly address them. Our engineers are actively working to manage issues as they arise and are revisiting the nature of public feeds on the site to make it harder for fake or harmful content to get into them.

®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft: We plan to CLEAN UP this here Windows Store town
Paid-for apps that provide free downloads? Really
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Hear ye, young cyber warriors of the realm: GCHQ wants you
Get involved, get a job and then never discuss work ever again
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.