Feeds

Beware Instagram PERIL HOTTIES, say security bods

Sepia loveliness riddled with scams like other portals

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION
You thought you were all alone? Nope – change your password, says ICO
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Meet OneRNG: a fully-open entropy generator for a paranoid age
Kiwis to seek random investors for crowd-funded randomiser
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
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.
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?
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.