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Slideshare hit by Man of Steel Spam sign-up scams

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Miscreants have begun abusing SlideShare, the web-based slide hosting service, to run movie stream scams supposedly offering a sneak peek at hot new films such as Man of Steel, Monsters University and zombie post-apocalypse action flick World War Z.

Numerous spam accounts have gone live on SlideShare in recent days, promoting "streaming sites" with reviews and previews of the latest hit movies, according to Chris Boyd, a senior threat researcher at ThreatTrack Security. Typically these accounts punt supposed links to streaming sites, whose ultimate destination is disguised through the use of URL shortening services.

In reality the links to streaming sites actually point to image files, including screenshots of the caption that normally proceeds a movie such as “The following film has been approved for all audiences”, presumably in a bid to trick marks into thinking they’re about to see Superman in all his glory.

Users are encouraged to create an account at the spamvertised streaming site, a process that involves jumping through numerous hoops, but with no reward at the end.

"The ultimate aim seems to be having fans of the touted movies signing up to subscription based movie streaming services, though there is some question as to what content these sites contain if the main thrust of this spam is for movies that aren't legally available online yet," Boyd told El Reg. "Most likely it's out of control affiliates attempting to drive traffic to the sites, whether the advertised movies are there or not."

"We've not seen anything in the way of surveys, mobile sign-ups or anything else yet," he added.

ThreatTrack has also recorded spam documents on SlideShare that are little more than fake video boxes with a play button, which send users off to blogs advertising free rugby and other spam accounts promoting a variety of streaming sites and services.

The whole scam is explained in a blog post (featuring numerous screenshots) by Boyd here.

Cybercrooks are essentially using SlideShare as an avenue for movie spam scams of a type that has long been prominent on YouTube. The change of venue is already bearing fruit for miscreants, according to Boyd.

"The original account promoting the Man of Steel “stream” has just over 700 views after four hours between his three uploads, so there’s certainly an audience for it. In fact, the spam uploads are themselves attracting more spam, in the form of comments all jostling to sell you their movie streams," Boyd explained.

"Thankfully SlideShare allows users to report documents that they feel shouldn’t be on there, so it’s entirely possible this spam run will walk smack bang into its very own form of Kryptonite," he concluded. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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