Consumers in Australia and around the world have fallen for a social engineering link promising a free download of Transformers 4, 22 Jump Street or Maleficent.
The users have had malware installed on their PC, tablet or phone that can be later activated to sniff out data, according to a Trend Micro report.
The security vendor found that 149 Australians clicked the link via Twitter or Facebook during July 1-15 2014. A total of 704 hits were recorded globally during the time of analysis. Consumers in the United States, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, Canada, the Philippines and Indonesia also clicked the link.
The link requested users to install a video player that then delivered the malware.
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Trend Micro Australia and New Zealand consumer director Tim Falinski told Computerworld Australia that cyber criminals have become even more savvy and develop spam that is designed as a lure.
“It might be the latest stock market tip or a free movie. This piece of malware will look at your Web browser history. Inside that [history] is a file where a lot of people save their passwords,” he said.
“This malware tries to scoop up this password information which can be used later by the cyber criminals.”
He warned that cyber criminals will take this information and try to pose as the victim online.
“For example, you might find have information stolen from your mobile phone and later on you find your bank account has a fraudulent transaction. They get the information off your phone which gives them access to your Gmail account. Using the Gmail account, they re-set the bank password and get access to your account.”
Falinksi’s advice to consumers is to avoid the social engineering lures and make sure they have installed up-to-date security software on their PC, tablet and smartphone.
Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick