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Facebook Scam Has Resurgence During Weekend

Facebook users are being targeted by a Christmas-themed scam that hijacks the reputation of well-known companies such as Walmart, Visa and Best Buy.

Facebook users are being targeted by a Christmas-themed scam that hijacks the reputation of well-known companies such as Walmart, Visa and Best Buy.

The scam was first detected by Websense last week, and dropped off initially before having a resurgence this weekend. 

“This isn’t the end though,” Websense noted in a Dec. 7 blog post. “The page also has a timeout mechanism.  If the victim doesn’t play the video they are greeted with a “Merry Christmas!” message and are redirected to a fake Facebook page offering some fake free vouchers.”

Some of the fake vouchers are made to appear as though they are from stores such as Best Buy, Walmart and Asda, the British supermarket chain.

“The fake voucher page for Asda takes the victim through the scam step by step,” according to Websense. “First, in order to get the free voucher the victim has to share the voucher in their Facebook profile. Second, the victim must publish the comment “Thanks Asda!” to support the scam. Lastly, the user must click the Like button, which is a scam link.”  

“After the victim completes the steps, their Facebook news feed includes the fake voucher scam and they are redirected to a legitimate web site at new.activeyou.co.uk that gives out prizes and supports an affiliate program,” the company’s blog post continues. “The way this works is that any user coming to the site —  thanks to a certain affiliate — and who participates, earns the affiliate somfe money; there is no free voucher after all. The affiliate here obviously engages in illegal methods to advertise and generate traffic to a web site that earns them money.”

As part of the attack, the scam hosts use the DNS servers of freedns.afraid.org, which offers domain owners free DNS services. The name server records used by the websites involved in the attack use Afraid.org DNS servers and point to ns1.afraid.org. Using the infrastructure of freedns.afraid.org allows the attackers to employ a massive number of varied scam hosts, Websense explained.

“In this attack, accounts/hosts on freedns.afraid.org have been used to serve scams URLs by pointing subdomains of legitimate hosts to the attackers’ infrastructure,” according to Websense. “If we examine some of the scam hosts involved in the attack, we can see that they point to a different IP address than the one used at the host level. Websites at the host level vary in purpose and seem to be legitimate websites.”

Dubbing the scam “Jacked Frost,” Websense said that the number of unique URLs related to this scam doubled on Saturday before dropping off again.

“This shows how cyber crooks time their attacks to times where users are more laid back and when the security community is less likely to alert users on this type of threat,” the company blogged Dec. 10.

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