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    Social Engineering Watch: Summer

    Invariably, summer (at least for people in most parts of the world) is when people troop to online shops, book flights to go on much-awaited vacations, and schedule recreational activities or hobby-type classes. Trend Micro identifies some of the biggest threats that take advantage of summer, an “important season for the social agenda of individuals.”

    1. Shopping invoices for ghost transactions: Users, even those who don’t really purchase anything online might, out of curiosity, open fake receipts sent via email or click malicious receipt links, become immediately vulnerable to identity theft.
    2. Ecommerce phishing: Shoppers on eBay, one of the most popular online retailers, should be vigilant not to fall prey to phishing attacks and other illicit schemes as the site is also one of cybercriminals’ favorite places to launch the largest number of phishing attacks
    3. Compromised high-traffic websites: High-traffic websites, especially during the summer when shoppers flood to online stores and auction and other ecommerce sites, are likely to attract cybercriminals like bees to honey.
    4. Poisoned shopping search results: Query results for summer-related strings can be manipulated to yield links to websites rigged with malware.
    5. Malicious advertisements or malvertisements: Users fond of getting good bargains online can fall prey to malware-carrying ads, particularly those strategically placed on high-traffic websites.

    Apart from online-shopping-related scams that proliferate during the summer season, companies also usually release new products this time of year. For instance, the official launch of Windows 7 RC was soon followed by its release in warez and torrent sites that, unfortunately, came with malware surprises.

    Besides being famous for the release of new products, summer is also the time when big movie producers release their blockbuster bets. In fact, almost every week, a highly anticipated film or sequel is shown in theaters worldwide, much to the delight of moviegoers and, of course, cybercriminals. In the past, potential viewers were lured with raffle entries for either free tickets or movie merchandise. Some use codecs embedded in exclusive trailers or downloadable uncut versions. Still others compromise high-traffic fan sites, blogs, or even the movies’ official sites themselves then spread malware to unknowing users’ computers.

    Users should therefore be wary when searching for the next big thing as hackers never rest and never stop developing the next big security threat as well.





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