Feeds

Beware Instagram PERIL HOTTIES, say security bods

Sepia loveliness riddled with scams like other portals

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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
One HUNDRED FAMOUS LADIES exposed NUDE online
Celebrity women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
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

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.