Digital Identity Blog

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For the Gift That Keeps on Taking… A Very Happy Valentine’s Day from Your Malware Provider

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ThreatMetrix
By ThreatMetrix
ThreatMetrix®, The Digital Identity Company®, is the market-leading cloud solution for authenticating digital personas and transactions on the Internet. Verifying more than 20 billion annual transactions supporting 30,000 websites and 4,000 customers globally through the ThreatMetrix Digital Identity Network®, ThreatMetrix secures businesses and end users against account takeover, payment fraud and fraudulent account registrations resulting from malware and data breaches.
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Nothing quite says, “I love your money” like an e-card chock full of malware from your friendly local malware distributor.

Based on the volume of spam last year, ITweb.com quotes McAfee as saying that it expects global volumes of messages with Valentine’s Day themes to quadruple. Not to mention those too cheap to buy a gift, did you ever realize there were so many people too cheap to even buy a card, stick a stamp on it, and send it snail mail?  Of course, you may ignore that last remark if you happen to be one of those people.

Anyway… ITweb.com says Valentine’s Day scams include spam mail soliciting users’ bank details, links to malware, dating scams, and phoney Web sites offering Valentine’s Day products.

Consumers are warned to be wary of email subject lines like: “Want to give your sweetheart a nice gift this Valentine’s Day?” Now, who would open an email with a subject line like that with menace and mayhem written all over it?  Okay, just about anybody. That’s why consumers have to be extremely careful opening email solicitations and searching online for Valentine gifts. It puts them one click away from a bogus site where in exchange for their credit card info, they get nothing.  Well, not quite nothing.  They get their identity stolen and bank account downsized.

Clicking on a Valentine’s Day email is enough to trigger a malware download onto the user’s device. ITweb.com reports “a recent example [where] recipients received an e-card that appeared to come from a legitimate greeting card site. However, when the e-card was opened, it prompted recipients to download the latest version of Flash Player in order to view the card. [T]he download installed a virus on recipients’ machines that tried to access their contacts and other personal information, which potentially left recipients open to identity theft.”

Obviously, the warning about being careful about clicking on Valentine’s Day emails also holds true for Valentine’s-themed videos, wallpaper, love songs and rogue apps, which can also infect devices.

ITweb.com says last year Facebook users “were invited to click on a link to send a love poem to ‘someone special’. However, when users clicked on the link, it spammed their contacts’ Facebook walls with status updates or surveys that asked for personal information.”

February 14 is when singles go on the hunt for other singles. Fraudsters take advantage of “mating calls” by posting fake profiles on dating sites. Victims are asked to send money or valuables and share their personal information. You don’t have to be Einstein to know what happens next – and it ain’t a vine-covered cottage with white picket fence.

If netizens really want to look for love online, they should only make use of paid dating sites like those protected by ThreatMetrix™. Some of these include myYearbook, Chellaul and Christian Dating for Free. To learn more, check out ThreatMetrix’s latest releases:

Users should always be wary of people who fall in love too fast and request personal information like financials and those who refuse to provide a rap sheet. We’re joking about the rap sheet. We hope.  The best advice is to stick with ThreatMetrix protected sites.

Wow. All these scam warnings are enough to turn the most ardent romantic into a Himalayan hermit or cloistered nun. Well, they would be, if ThreatMetrix weren’t on the job to protect not only dating sites, but all companies with online assets who also want to offer their customers maximum protection.

ThreatMetrix
By ThreatMetrix Posted