How would you like to get one of the much-anticipated iPad gizmos in exchange of simply filling up a mere survey? Well, the offer sounds pretty good â€“ in fact, it sounds too good to be true and thatâ€™s what it is.
The scheme is massively advertised on a Facebook Events page where about 2500 people signed up for the event and â€“ probably â€“ fell victim to the phishing attack. The idea behind it is extremely simple: you sign up for â€œreviewingâ€ an iPad device, get the product and a questionnaire you need to fill in and return to the company. Needless to say that you get to keep the reviewed item without any commitment on your side.
Concealed by a short URL, the target phishing page initially asks for some pretty reasonable info such as the first name and the email address, and culminates with requiring a full set of details, including the full name, home address and phone numbers, as shown below. In order to make the whole deal look legit, the attackers have thrown in logos belonging to high-profile media outlets, although the mentioned institutions have no clue about this initiative.
After all the data has been collected, the attacker asks the user to undergo a last security check and provide their Facebook username and password. Please note that our experiment is carried in a contained environment and we do not encourage you to type in your account credentials on any website except for the genuine one.
To add insult to injury and to maximize the damage, the unwary user whose account has just been phished would be required to download and install an adware application (a browser toolbar) that hijacks the browserâ€™s start page and swaps the default search engine, among others.
Needless to mention that, after filling in the personal details, getting phished and installing the toolbar youâ€™ll never get the iPad, nor will you hear from the attackers again.
The scheme is based on a common practice amongst product creators, namely sending sample units for reviewing. However, itâ€™s not everybody who can receive a testing unit, as the offer is mostly pointed at opinion influencers, high-profile bloggers and â€“ most of all â€“ specialized review websites. Even that way, journalism ethics urge that the reviewer returns the tested unit to the provider after the process has completed. Now, repeat after me: if something looks too good to be true, then it probably is and youâ€™ll end up hurting yourself.
Facebook has been notified and the Events page has been taken down.