Feeds

Survey scammers fling spam at Pinterest punters

Black Hat Tools offers spring bot collection...

The essential guide to IT transformation

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
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
KER-CHING! CryptoWall ransomware scam rakes in $1 MEEELLION
Anatomy of the net's most destructive ransomware threat
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?