Phishers Continue Celebrity Promotion with Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato

Co-author: Avdhoot Patil

Celebrity promotion has gained momentum in the world of phishing. In October 2011, we observed Indonesian rock star Ahmad Dhani was being used as phishing bait and phishers continue their stream of celebrity bait with popular singers Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato. Celebrities with a large fan following are phishers’ favorites (because they believe a larger audience will mean more duped users).

In today's example, phishers created phishing sites that spoofed the login pages of a popular information services website. The phishing pages contained a picture of the singer and the page altered to give the impression that users could gain access to additional content about the celebrity after entering their own login credentials. It should be noted good websites will never alter the format of their login page for celebrity promotions. After the login credentials are entered into the phishing site, users are directed to a page providing various options to the user. These options include chatting with the singers, visiting their official community page, watching videos, seeing images of them in popular search engines, and so on. If users fell victim to the phishing site by entering their login credentials, phishers would have successfully stolen their confidential information for identity theft purposes.

The phishing sites were in written in French and phishers utilized domains which were typosquats of the names Selena and Demi. The country code top level domain (ccTLD) of these domains were from Tokelau (a territory in New Zealand).

Internet users are advised to follow best practices to avoid phishing attacks:

  • Do not click on suspicious links in email messages.
  • Avoid providing any personal information when answering an email.
  • Never enter personal information in a pop-up page or screen.
  • When entering personal or financial information, ensure the website is encrypted with an SSL certificate by looking for the padlock, ‘https’, or the green address bar.
  • Frequently update your security software (such as Norton Internet Security 2012) which protects you from online phishing.

Rogue Drummers, Disobedient Cops, Oakland Evictions: An Occupy Round-Up

Drummers at OccupyWallStreet have riled neighbors with their refusal to keep time with police noise-ordinance rules.

Occupy protests are tough to keep up with, having spread across the four corners of the nation, and beyond them into the net. Here’s a quick round-up of some of the latest news and video from the protests.

  • New York: The original Zuccotti Park protest next to Wall Street in New York is facing eviction over being unable to control its drumming circles. Late night drumming is turning the neighborhood against the occupiers. The NYC GA (General Assembly) has ruled that drumming be constrained within the hours of 12-2pm and 4-6pm, but drummers have simply ignored this rule, drumming until 11pm or so at night. All parties are working together to figure out how to fix the situation, with the exception of the rogue drummers.
  • Albany, New York: On Friday in Albany, New York, the police-protestor conflict took a novel turn when local and state law enforcement refused to arrest OccupyAlbany, despite orders from Mayor Jennings and pressure from Governor Cuomo. The decision seems to have been more practical that ideological. According to police, the protesters weren’t causing any trouble, through they feared the protest might turn into a riot if they started making mass arrests, and there were too many of occupiers for the policing infrastructure to handle. An unnamed police official told the Times Union, “We don’t have those resources, and these people were not causing trouble. The bottom line is the police know policing, not the governor and not the mayor.”
  • Occupy the Hood: There’s a new effort sweeping through the occupation to include people of color called Occupy The Hood. #OccupyTheHood takes marches and rallies into inner-city African American neighborhoods and other poor and often overlooked urban populations and tries to get those voices involved in the protests. The idea being some of the stories from these neighborhoods are a lot rougher than those of unemployed college grads being mired in student debt.
  • Oakland: While Oakland, California has been home to one of the most peaceful and established of the occupations, police have moved in and cleared #OccupyOakland with overwhelming numbers and tear gas. They arrested 85, largely without incident. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan told SFgate.com, “They can certainly exercise their free speech rights from 6 in the morning to 10 at night. But at night we had people who were hurt, that we were not allowed to treat and we had, you know, several criminal activities.” (Wired is hoping to report from the Oakland Occupation later this week.)
  • Police Confrontation Video: One of the more amazing and viral bits of media to come out of the last week was of a confrontation between one black marine and a couple dozen or so mostly white NYPD, all of whom are much smaller than the marine. It’s strong stuff. Like it or hate it, it’s hard not to react to it.
  • Chicago: Chicago occupiers faced their second round of mass arrests last week, with 130 arrested, including the two nurses manning the health tent. Their arrest prompted a march on Monday to protest Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s handling of the local occupation.
  • Facetime at Occupy: Want a picture of an occupation under stress? OccupyTV has done a fantastic job showing the faces of people in San Francisco pushed to their limits. Occupation is not always pretty and civil.

Top Photo: Kenny Sun/Flickr