How Hackers Are Stealing High-Profile Instagram Accounts

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Ruvim Achapovskiy, the founder of SocialBomb, a social marketing agency in Seattle, said that he’s seen branded-content scams increase sharply over the past year. They’ve also gotten more sophisticated. Hackers sometimes create their own fake brands to phish influencers, but often they pretend to be representatives from real companies. “They’ll set up some sort of username that’s something that seems like it would be legit, like @LuluLemonAmbassadors,” he said. “They’ll use all the company logos, make it seem as legit as possible, make the bio seem normal. Use the company’s mission statement. It’s super simple.”

Once hackers gain control of an influencer’s account, said Moritz von Contzen, founder of the Dutch social-media agency Avenik, they’ll often hop into the account’s direct messages and begin spamming other influencers with the same phishing links before the hacked influencer even knows what’s happening.

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How I Lost My $50,000 Twitter Username

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My $50,000 Twitter Username Was Stolen Thanks to PayPal and GoDaddy

I had a rare Twitter username, @N. Yep, just one letter. I’ve been offered as much as $50,000 for it. People have tried to steal it. Password reset instructions are a regular sight in my email inbox. As of today, I no longer control @N. I was extorted into giving it up.

Are fake events the new fake news?

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…as Facebook becomes dominant, and promoters strive to get more eyeballs on their nights out, more of us are noticing an element of bull in the events we see on the social network. If you’re lucky enough not to have been trolled by one, these are commonly events that are promoting something large and lavish – but suspiciously lack any basic information, such as a venue, a price, or specifics on DJs or acts playing.

…So why set up a fake event? We asked Ryan Palmer, a DJ used to playing the kind of genuine raves that bogus events pretend to advertise, who also happens to have a background in hacking. First off, he noticed that pages such as the ‘Secret Woodland Rave’ would have ‘many events running in different cities at more or less the same time, which were logistically impossible to pull off’. Through Google image searches, he also noticed that the photos used were actually of random events, such as Eastern European free parties. There were no contact details on most of the pages either.

Palmer thought at first that the motive was a nefarious plot to extract data, which is potentially true in some cases. But the recurring theme is that a day before the event is supposed to happen, it will be ‘postponed’ and then changed into something advertising a paid event. The problem with Facebook is that it lets you change essentially everything about an event while still keeping the valuable harvest of people who previously asked for notifications. So by clicking ‘interested’ for a Summer Rooftop Party, you may ultimately end up getting spammed by a student night in Bournemouth a week later.

It’s Not Your Grandparents’ Fault They Keep Getting Scammed Online

Tutor Helping Senior Woman In Computer Class

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The success of these hacks and scams have led many software developers and security professionals to gripe about the so-called “stupid users” who simply cannot be saved from themselves and their terrible passwords. While it’s true, in a tautological sense, that removing all humans from the network would make it exceptionally secure, being “stupid” and being “poorly educated” are two very different things. There are a lot of smart people out there that simply don’t have the right information to keep themselves safe online, including seniors…

Yanking grandma and grandpa (or anyone else who doesn’t know how to respond to technogeek phrased pop-ups about ActiveX controls) offline is clearly not the answer. But given the rate at which seniors are being targeted, we could be doing a better job of getting basic information to this particularly vulnerable group.