Cybercriminals are capitalizing on the success of the Twilight Saga and the sizzling debate over the date of the next movie release to suck the data out of Facebook users with a â€œfree ticketsâ€ scam.
The Twilight Saga is a long standing box-office success and a focus of public attention for years. From its debut in 2008, which raised the cash-ins bar at almost $400 million worldwide, to its latest Breaking DawnÂ (Part 1) release, with $139 million on opening week-end – making it the fifth-largest opening ever domestically, and the 10th best worldwide â€“ the vampire saga and all of its marketing stints are worth keeping an eye on.
Breaking Dawn Part 1 hit theatres in November 2011. There is a lot of speculation about the release of Part 2 as the producers kept the suspense going with statements about several dates being considered. Based on the history of Twilight releases so far, the much expected answer could be June or November, although other movie scheduled to come out in summer seem to rule out the first option.
A Facebook message promoting an alleged Breaking Dawn Part 2 ticket giveaway turns out to be a straightforward personal data collection scheme.
After clicking the provided link, users are asked for their full name and address â€“ both electronic and postal – and their phone numbers.
Ironically, a confirmation of the phone numberâ€™s validity is required so the scam creators can check that interested users are not robots.
â€œTwilight-themed scams and even more complex mechanisms to steal data or even spread malware are very likely to come up in the following months. We might even expect the malicious activity that banks on the movieâ€™s success to spike up in June and in October or early Novemberâ€, stated Alexandru Catalin Cosoi, Chief Security Researcher at Bitdefender. â€œAlso, the required personal data, such as e-mail address, home address, phone number and full name, are enough for almost any targeted attack. Using simple techniques, these basic details can lead to building almost a full resume for each potential victim. We will see better quality targeted attacks in the coming 12 months, as this trend of collecting personal data has been going on for almost a year now.â€
Breaking Dawn (Part 2)- themed scams on Facebook were spotted as early as August 2011, but as the movieâ€™s actual release date is approaching the likelihood of users falling for it increase considerably.
What to do: Ticket and gift card giveaways have proven fertile ground for scammers recently. Users should take extra care when signing up. A simple online checkup of the giveawayâ€™s veracity will help users avoid danger altogether. Safego, the Bitdefender free anti-scam tool for Facebook and Twitter or TrafficLight, the Bitdefender free tool providing cross browser unintrusive web threat control will warn users against such threats. As for the piece of malware that might be downloaded at one stage or another of the scam mechanism, a good internet security solution will save the day.
This article is based on the technical information provided courtesy of Tudor Florescu, Bitdefender Online Threat Analyst.
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