E-Threats Social Networks

2012 Olympics Scam May Lead Facebook Users to Malware

With so many people yearning after an Olympics ticket these days, criminal masterminds are working overtime on Facebook scams to lure people to malicious websites.

1 ticket, 2 tickets, 3 tickets… Seeing the 2012 London Olympics for free seems easier than counting sheep. A fresh scam is making rounds on Facebook, tempting users with fake Olympics tickets. The eventjacking masquerade may lead to malware, as the website gathers more and more clicks every day.

To explain their noble-mindedness and make the Facebook scam more credible, pranksters use another en vogue social engineering trick, claiming the “chance” to get free tickets is due to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Users are bamboozled with an invite from a friend to a Facebook event. On the event page, they are told how to get free tickets to the Olympics. The number of friends they invite themselves is proportionate to the alleged number of tickets earned.

If you get to step number 3 and access the link, you have to pass through a survey maze. There, you are promised the well-deserved reward if you complete one of the surveys, but you can’t actually manage to do so.

The scam uses the Facebook Event tool for criminal purposes, threatening users’ devices with malware infections. If you click to attend, you become subscribed to the fake event page with its subsequent dangerous updates. After getting a notification that you are attending the London Olympics for free, your friends could also be more easily tricked.

The social engineering behind this London Olympics ticket scam lends extra credit to the bogus event page. The condition to invite as many friends as possible to get the tickets you’ve dreamed about means every tricked user unknowingly contributes to spreading potential malware. In addition, sending personal invites better persuades friends to click on the fabricated event page than a blunt Timeline post.

The phony link started circulating June 5 and hasn’t registered so many clicks yet. Scammers may want to wait until they gather more users and then make the web page more harmful.

Facebook users should always double check information about ticket giveaways and warn friends about London Olympics scams. If they already clicked on the link, they can remove the event from the Timeline.

During the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, more than $3.5 million where snatched by a criminal group with bogus ticket scams.

All product and company names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and are the property of, and may be trademarks of, their respective owners.

This article is based on the technical information provided courtesy of Tudor Florescu, Bitdefender Online Threats Analyst.

About the author

Bianca STANESCU

Bianca Stanescu, the fiercest warrior princess in the Bitdefender news palace, is a down-to-earth journalist, who's always on to a cybertrendy story. She's the industry news guru, who'll always keep a close eye on the AV movers and shakers and report their deeds from a fresh new perspective. Proud mother of one, she covers parental control topics, with a view to valiantly cutting a safe path for children through the Internet thicket. She likes to let words and facts speak for themselves.

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