Some webpages are giving away free codes for Playstation Network and Steam but, are they reliable?
At Avast we discovered a lot of webpages offering free codes, with a value from $20 to $50, for Playstation Network and Steam, two of the most important internet-based digital distribution platforms. Those webpages look very suspicious so we decided to analyze them.
We chose one of those webpages and followed all the steps required in order to get our “free code” for Playstation Network or Steam.
After a first look at the main page, we found some suspicious items. To prove how trustworthy the transaction is, the webpage placed two security “certifications” in a visible location, but as we discovered, no security companies are associated with those certifications. They are completely fake!
Also, there’s a label with user ratings (4 ½ stars!), but we cannot rate the webpage; it’s just an image. Both fake images make the users think that they are in a safe and reliable website.
What happens when we click on a gift card? Are we going to receive the code?
The answer is no.
Let’s see what’s next:
When we click on a gift card¸ instead of receiving the promised free code, we are asked to share a link with our friends in order to unlock the code.
Why do they do that?
When we share the link we are contributing to an increase in the number of visitors and, of course, the number of people that will try to redeem the “free code.” Keep this in mind, it will be important at the end of this post.
Ok, we already invited 5 of our friends and, in theory, we unlocked the code. Is this the last step? Are we going to receive the code now?
Again, the answer is no.
Looks like they don’t want to give us the code. Suspicious, right? So, what do they want now?
As we can see in the image, in order to receive our PSN code, we need to complete a short survey (like inviting 5 friends wasn’t already enough?!).
When we click on one of the surveys, a little pop-up with a message appears on the top of the screen. The message says: “You must use your VALID information while filling this offer out”.
Why do they need our VALID information?
Here’s the reason:
In order to receive the code, we need to introduce our phone number – our VALID phone number. But wait, before doing that, let’s read the text at the bottom of the page.
Surprise! It’s a premium SMS service with a total amount of 36,25€/month (>$40/month)! If we enter our phone number, we will be automatically subscribed to this premium service.
Remember the 5 friends you sent the link to? Well, now imagine how many people can fall into this scam just by sharing a link to 5 friends: 5+(5*5)+(5*5*5)+… creepy, right?
And of course, there’s no free code for your PSN or Steam accounts.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of webpages using the same method to get user’s money. Also, there are other webpages offering software to generate codes. Cybercrooks create those
fake apps and get money from “download servers” because they bring
Tonda Hýža, from the AVAST Virus Lab, described those webpages as Adware due to the big amount of lies, advertisements and weird privacy policies.
Make sure you share this alert with your gamer friends J
It only took Apple 24 hours to get 4 million pre-orders of the new iPhone 6, and scammers were right there with them to cash in.
In the newest iteration of a scam used every time a new product is launched with fanfare, Facebook pages have been popping up claiming that people who like, share, and comment on a post can win an iPhone 6.
This type of scam is referred to as like-harvesting. The scammer makes the page popular by collecting likes and then sells the page to other scammers. The offer of a new device, like the iPhone 6, entices people to click the like button then spam their friends with the bogus promotion. Thousands of likes can accumulate within a few hours, making the page quite valuable on the black market. The new owner rebrands it to peddle more questionable products and services with their built-in audience.
A variation on this scam is the Survey Scam. As with like-harvesting, you must first like the Facebook page. The difference is that you need to also share a link with your Facebook friends.
This link takes you to a page where you are instructed to download a “Participation Application.” Generally, a pop-up window leads you to participate in a survey before you can download the application. Some surveys will ask for personal information like your mobile phone number or name and address. If you provide those details, you open yourself up to expensive text-messaging services, annoying phone calls, and junk mail. In some cases, the download contains malicious code. The only thing you can be guaranteed not to get is an iPhone 6! Meanwhile, the scammer earns money for every survey through an affiliate marketing scheme.
What to do if you liked a ‘Win iPhone 6′ page
If you fell for the scam, then learn from it and don’t do it again! Make sure you unlike the page, delete comments that you made, and remove the post from your news feed. You may also want to alert your friends to the scams, so they don’t fall for it.
Thank you for using avast! Antivirus and recommending us to your friends and family. For all the latest news, fun and contest information, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Business owners – check out our business products.
Earlier this month, we told you about a spear phishing campaign specifically targeting banking customers in Czech Republic, and now a similar scam is targeting bank customers in Finland.
This weekend, Aktia, Nordea, and Nooa Säästöpankki customers received text messages and emails informing them that their online banking services were being discontinued because of a payment in default. The message said the payment had to be made immediately to avoid this. The victims were then instructed to follow a link in the email where they could enter their ID and bank access codes including PIN. The victim was promised that a representative of online banking services would call to confirm after the payment was received.
So far, 500,000 euros has been stolen. Of course, there is no default payment and the whole thing is a hoax to earn cybercriminals money. Within the last month, 95 percent of the victims have been women, said Detective Superintendent Jukkapekka Risu from Helsinki Police to the Helsinki Times.
What you need to know to protect yourself
Do not click on links, download files, or open attachments in emails from unknown senders. Phishing websites often copy legitimate websites so they appear authentic. To be safe, call the bank to find out if they really sent that email to you.
Do not call the number in the email. It can easily be faked. Look up the real number of your bank and call using that.
Banks will not ask for customer names or IDs by email, text message, or phone. If you have fallen victim to the scam message and have volunteered information, please contact your bank immediately.
Protect your computer with a firewall, spam filters, antivirus and anti-spyware software. Both avast! Internet Security and avast! Premier have these important features. SafeZone is an additional security feature in avast! Pro Antivirus, avast! Internet Security and avast! Premier, which allows you to browse the web in a private, secure environment, invisible to the rest of your system. For example, if you do your banking online, you can be sure that your personal data cannot be monitored by spyware or key-logging software.
Thank you for using avast! Antivirus and recommending us to your friends and family. For all the latest news, fun and contest information, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram. Business owners – check out our business products.
By now, we are all familiar with Facebook scams that claim to give your Newsfeed a designer look. Remember Facebook Red or Facebook Black? Those pretty themes ended up spreading spam and malicious links via online surveys and fake videos. Today, the AVAST Virus Lab experts discovered a unique variety– the Facebook Music Theme Scam.
The Facebook Music Theme Scam is supposed to change the theme and add a song to your Facebook page. But when our Virus Lab expert, Honza Zika, investigated, he got more than danceable music tracks, “What this code does is modify Facebook. It automatically liked 32 photos, people, groups, … See my activity log, that is just half of it.”
Yes! What a lucky day! I’ve just got a message that I won 2,000,000.00 British Pounds (2.4M EUR/3.1M USD), an Apple laptop, a T-shirt, and a cap emblazoned with a logo of The Free Lotto Company. Pretty awesome you might think, but appearances are deceptive. Unfortunately, this is just one of the ways bad guys try to get some of our money.
Well, I was thinking, it‘s worth a shot. So I decided to write to the email address and see what would happen. Actually, the hardest part was a making up a fake name for myself! You would never believe how rough this might be. In the end, I decided to call myself Robert Konmed.
Here’s how the conversation went down.
Me: Hello, I’ve got a winning message with information to contact your email address. How can I pick up my prize please? Thank you, Robert Konmed
Bad guys: Please find attached document for info to contact courier delivery company: EMAIL:firstname.lastname@example.org Regards Brian Calton
Me: Hello guys, I’m really excited about a winning prize. But would be possible to tell me how much I should prepare for a delivery company? And also I’m curious if there is possibility to charge delivery from my winning prize? Thank you & have a nice day! Best regards! Robert Konmed Read more…
Millions of people use social networks like Facebook and Twitter every day to share photos, comments, and ideas with their friends and followers. These popular platforms have become magnets for cybercrooks and are used to spread different types of scams. Hackers take advantage of the easy accessibility of data we put online to manipulate or steal them.
The security of AVAST users is a total priority for us. Therefore we monitor and warn you about new threats we discover on social media. We have noticed that while trying to be creative, scammers also run out of ideas and certain type of threats repeat periodically. Hence, we have gathered the top 4 sneakiest scams and prepared a summary of the most typical malicious behavior recently distributed via social networks.
Facebook Photo Scams
Most of us are softies and scammers know it. Who wouldn’t “like” a photo of a child in need if it could help them? Especially if it says: Each time you like the photo, you donate one cent to…, or If I collect 1,000,000 likes my parents will… Like my photo, please! Scammers count on our sympathetic hearts to respond to these calls for help, and we do by clicking like and share. Read more…
Summertime means vacation time, and many of us brag share our plans on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. A recent survey by MoneyGram found that nearly one-third of consumers aged 18-49 post details about their vacations on social media before or during their trip, essentially broadcasting to the world when they will be away, where they are going, and what they will do – and more than just friends are watching.
“Sharing summer travel plans can serve as an invitation for criminals to target family members with the relative in need scam,” warns MoneyGram, a leading global money transfer company. In the so-called “family scam,” cybercrooks target elderly family and friends of people traveling on vacation with frantic late-night phone calls or emails from a hijacked account. They make up an emergency situation and instruct the victims to wire huge sums of money to “rescue” their relatives from nonexistent predicaments. Some AVAST users have experienced this firsthand.
According to MoneyGram, victims of family scams lost an average of $1,551 each time money was sent to a scammer – with a total of more than $8.5 million in attempted transactions during summer 2012.
“When families go on vacation, they don’t do their relatives any favors when they post Facebook pictures and tell everyone how long they’ll be gone,” said Barbara Fore, an elder-related-crimes investigator for the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office in an Orlando Sentinel article. “Criminals are monitoring things like Facebook all the time, and they can often find out just about everything they need to know to run their cons.”
MoneyGram advises that “the safest way to respond to a frantic phone call is to simply hang up and call your relative directly to verify the situation, or verify the identity of the person on the other end of the line or email by asking questions with answers that only true friends or family members would know. These steps often reveal the attempted fraud, preventing any further emotional distress or monetary losses.”
Several months ago I wrote a blog post about an adware downloader which after execution downloaded a few adware programs and installed them on the computer, giving no chance for the user to skip or bypass their installation. This time, we will analyze an application, which installs similar types of adware programs on user computers.
We received a file which appeared to be a crack of Pinnacle Studio HD Ultimate. After displaying the initial splash screen, it offers the user to install Pinnacle Pixie Activation 500. After confirmation, the crack is installed, but in addition to the crack, other programs and toolbars unexpectedly appeared on the compromised computer. Pinnacle was not the only target of this kind of attack. Cracks for programs like Sims, Nero, Rosetta Stone, and Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 were also used in distribution.
I don’t know what kind of curiosity leads people to the dark corners of the internet, when they want to obtain a new version of antivirus software. It’s somehow irrational to find security software at insecure places. But…. it happens.
As you can see, the file name is Avast_Antivirus_2012_Trial_Verion.exe – but it is definitely not a proper setup released by us. Here are some facts, that are worth remembering:
The phishing scam creators are really getting creative. Of course one could question their targeting such in this case. Czech republic is known for our quite lenient view of laws and rules and – especially – the need to pay (or the lack of there off) of any fines especially when imposed by so called municipal police. Who would bother… Hence, an email urging to pay a fine is normally filed directly into the ‘round file’. Known as trash. Well in this case… there actually might be a good reason to look at this closely Read more…