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February 14, 2012

Lovers are Getting Scammed in More Ways than One This Valentine's Day

By Jamie Epstein, TMCnet Web Editor

I recently wrote an article that was based upon ESET (News - Alert) researchers in Latin America’s findings that cyber criminals are currently going after hopeless romantics in order to penetrate their computers and implant malicious codes. As the day in which lovers rejoice is now upon us, even more scams are being utilized to steal more than just hearts.

Featured within part one of this series where scams such as malware in social networks, blackhat SEO, inauthentic greeting cards, privacy and stolen information and “Russian bride”. This article will analyze cookie stuffing, click-jacking, life-jacking, like-jacking and click-farming which have again been uncovered by ESET.

1.       Cookie Stuffing

This pertains to situations in which marketing cookies are used to note a visit to a website that an affiliate has initiated, where that said company will then get paid if the consumer takes certain additional steps including asking for more information. “The cookie stuffer acts as an affiliate and places cookies on a consumer's computer even if the consumer has not been brought to the site by the stuffer, later getting paid for consumer actions,” Stephen Cobb, security evangelist for ESET said in his blog post.

2.       Click-jacking

Contrary to what you may believe, no this is not when your group of friends is stolen from you. In fact, it is in essence tricking a user to click on things they did not wish to view or when they click on something intentionally that then leads them to something completely different. This is an integral part of a type of fraud that is coined click-fraud. An example of this is when last November when six cyber attackers were arrested by the FBI for making over $10 million from the illegal action of leveraging DNS settings on millions of computers.

3.       Life-jacking

This scam refers to posting fake links on social media websites including Facebook and Twitter (News - Alert) in order to develop click scams.

4.       Like-jacking

You know when you like something so much on Facebook (News - Alert) you just have to click the “like” button? Well, be careful next time you decide to take this action as cyber masterminds are liking pages on social media mega sites only to make the page more widely known to targets. “There is a black market in "likes" and these scams serve that market,” Cobb added.

5.       Click-farming

This process involves paying people to click on links, something that is highly frowned upon.

This Valentine’s Day, cuddle up to the one you love and stay far, far away from your computer!


Jamie Epstein is a TMCnet Web Editor. Previously she interned at News 12 Long Island as a reporter's assistant. After working as an administrative assistant for a year, she joined TMC (News - Alert) as a Web editor for TMCnet. Jamie grew up on the North Shore of Long Island and holds a bachelor's degree in mass communication with a concentration in broadcasting from Five Towns College. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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