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Attacks/Breaches

4/21/2020
02:05 PM
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Viral WhatsApp Scam Promises Free Streaming Services

Cybercriminals capitalize on the popularity of media and entertainment to target consumers looking for at-home activities.

As businesses across industries suffer losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some have noticed a benefit to more people staying at home. Streaming services, for example, have seen their memberships surge as people look for at-home activities. Cybercriminals are taking advantage.

The demand for streaming services has driven an increase in fraudulent streaming services and related scams, the ZeroFOX Alpha team reports. Some falsely promise free memberships in exchange for users' account information. Many of these scams are distributed on social media, where attackers have greater visibility and a higher likelihood that someone will fall for their tricks.

One of these viral scams is currently circulating on WhatsApp, and it offers a free streaming service membership to anyone who enrolls in the program. A message appears to be from a legitimate service and promises "free access" as an act of goodwill during the pandemic. To entice users to click, the scammers claim this is a "limited-time" and "limited-quantity" offer.

A link directs victims to a website designed to appear as though it belongs to the legitimate company. Visitors see a message reading "Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are giving away totally free access to our platform for the period of isolation, until the virus is contained." A fake count of people who have subscribed to the free offer aims to add legitimacy to the site.

Those who follow prompts to access the offer are asked to answer a series of questions and then share the scam with 10 people via WhatsApp to activate their subscriptions, which further propagates the scam. Those who do are asked for their streaming account credentials, which can be sold or used to attempt login access into other accounts the victim owns.

Read more details here.

A listing of free products and services compiled for Dark Reading by Omdia analysts to help meet the challenges of COVID-19. 

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