We saw samples of email messages disguised as notifications from popular networking sites, in particular LinkedIn, foursquare, Myspace, and Pinterest. These spam contain links that direct users to bogus pharmaceutical or fraud sites. They also use legitimate-looking email addresses to appear credible to recipients. Using famous brands like these sites are effective in luring users to the scheme as this gives credence to an otherwise obvious scam.
Fake foursquare Email Notifications
We uncovered spammed messages masked as notifications from foursquare, a popular location-based social networking site. The first sample we found pretends to be an email alert, stating that someone has left a message for the recipient. The second message is in the guise of a friend confirmation notification.
Both messages use the address email@example.com in the ‘From’ field and bear a legitimate-looking MessageID. Similar to previous spam campaign using popular social networking sites, attackers here also disguised the malicious URLs. If users click these, the URLs direct to an empty web page containing another URL, which ultimately leads to a website selling sex-enhancement drugs.