In association with heise online

07 January 2009, 10:53

Fake LinkedIn profiles spread trojans

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Criminals have created fake profiles for celebrities on the professional networking site LinkedIn to attract unsuspecting users and infect them with malware. Profiles in the names of Victoria Beckham, Beyoncé Knowles, Christina Ricci, Kirsten Dunst, Salma Hayek and Kate Hudson offered links to sets of nude photos and films. Users who clicked on links were sent to either fake anti-virus software or directed to download a media player for Windows, containing a trojan.

There are hundreds of other similar accounts created by criminals, though the majority of them have already been removed. According to a report from Trend Micro, criminals are using pre-registered accounts on social networking sites as a launchpad for these attacks and report that these accounts are already being traded in the black market. The registered accounts presence on the networking sites means that the account gets higher ranking on Google searches, making it more likely that unsuspecting users will be directed to the dangerous profiles.

It's been a bad 2009 so far for Web 2.0 security, with Twitter celebrities becoming victims to a simple dictionary attack on a Twitter staffer and phishing attacks running over the Twitter network. Google has found itself third in the top ten spam ISPs, in part due to the use by spammers of Google Docs links, directing victims to documents with dangerous URLs embedded in them.

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