Feeds

Beware Instagram PERIL HOTTIES, say security bods

Sepia loveliness riddled with scams like other portals

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Scammers are targeting Instagram users by creating fake profiles to gather personal details before attempting to trick users into signing up for premium-rate mobile services, among other ruses.

Fake profiles on the social network often feature "women" with attractive profile pictures who have never posted any photos. Their profile bios include a quote, followed by a shortened URL. These links almost invariably point to advertisements for fake jobs working in social media.

Mobile messages spammed by these fake profiles point to a premium mobile service sign-ups of dubious utility, such as videos of cute animals for only €4.50 per month.

The fake profiles are part of a wider pattern of scams on Instagram, according to Symantec.

"The scams take on a number of forms, from spam comments, to fake followers, to liking photos in the hopes people will check out their profiles, which in turn often contain more spam links," Paul Wood, a security researcher at Symantec, explains in a blog post.

Instagram's photo-sharing and social network services were acquired by Facebook in a cash and stock deal eventually valued at $715m at the time it went through in September. The growing popularity of the photo sharing social network, which boasts more than 100m members, means that it is becoming the target of the fake profile scams that have bedevilled Facebook and Twitter for some time.

The latest monthly edition of Symantec's internet threat report also reports a significant drop in spam volumes during October, with the global spam rate dropping by more than 10 percentage points, from 75 per cent of email traffic in September down to 64.8 per cent in October. The (likely temporary) respite may be down to down to a decline in one prominent spam-spewing zombie network.

"It appears that the Festi botnet has recently gone quiet and could be partly responsible for this sudden decline. This botnet was very active in early September before all but disappearing in October," according to Symantec's study (PDF).

Security researchers at the security giant caution that spam volumes might easily increase towards the holiday season as other zombie networks pick up the slack.

"Unfortunately, we’ve seen drops like this before, where other botnets soon jump in to pick up the slack, or a “dead” botnet is reincarnated in a slightly different manifestation. For example, the Kelihos botnet is now believed to be in at least its third incarnation since Microsoft targeted the botnet in the company’s efforts to disrupt the botnet over 12 months ago." ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.