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BLOG: Spread love, not malware, this Valentine's Day

Computerworld Singapore staff | Feb. 9, 2012
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! While you may be looking for gifts for your loved ones, planning getaways and purchasing the best online deals, the threats of online scams may be lurking behind the online deals that you may encounter.

Trend Micro recently discovered the Valentine’s day Facebook malware. This new scam on Facebook promotes and encourages its users, via a wall post, to install a Valentine’s theme into their Facebook profile. Once installed, the users are then re-directed to another page that urges them to install the theme. The theme gets installed along with a malicious file. Commonly known as TROJ_FOOKBACE.A, this malware executes a script that is capable of spamming accounts with unwanted advertisements from certain websites. In addition, the file also installs itself on users’ browsers as an extension named “Facebook Improvement |” The file then monitors browser activity and result in clickjacking, where it automatically ‘likes’ several Facebook pages, as well as automatically posts messages on the affected user’s wall.

Valentine’s Day has been notoriously used by cybercriminals and is seen as their favorite occasion to target for malicious profit. From spammed messages serving malware to compromised sites, users must remain cautious of security threats that purport to spread love but actually do harm. Online scams for the Valentine’s season include Internet love scams, where the promise of love and companionship may lead to loss of personal data or even money, as well as more discreet cyber crimes that plant worms and spread malware on computers or mobile devices.

To keep safe this Valentine’s Day, Trend Micro urges users to be aware of their online activity with some best practices online:

·         When making online purchases, review a site’s terms and conditions before purchasing an item from it. Verify important details such as overall cost, shipping date, order cancellation, and return policies.

·         Make sure to check out the seller’s physical address and phone number in case processing or delivery problems arise.

·         Use credit instead of debit cards, as most banks offer credit protection policies to limit financial losses should theft occur. Using debit cards may expose personal bank accounts to greater risk and may not have the same mitigation advantages as using credit cards.

·         Before entering credit card information, look for https:// in the address bar, as this is an indicator of a secure session. Some sites also display a closed padlock or an unbroken key icon at the bottom-right corner of your browser.


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