Be on the alert for what may look like a credible email from Facebook or Apple’s iTunes as it could be a scam. The iTunes scam is likely to be playing on Black Friday discount emails by advertising a special offer, while the Facebook email accuses users of violations and threatens deactivation of the account.
First, more details on the iTunes email. CNET reports that email claiming to be from iTunes holds a compressed zip file that when opened will give hackers access to your computer:
The email apparently offers recipients $50 (£32) and claims they need to open an attached file to access their certificate code. In fact the attachment is a file called Mal/BredoZp-B. It opens a security loophole on Windows PCs and allows hackers to remotely capture passwords and other information. It also slows down the computer and hides some files.
Although such malware can be removed with the use of widely available anti-malware tools, damage can be done in the meantime.
The Facebook scam is what the Daily Mail calls “the cleverest Facebook scam yet” as it plays off of the site’s security procedures to look authentic:
The scam comes in the form of an email accusing the user of a violation for insulting or annoying another Facebook users – and saying that their account will be deleted in 24 hours.
Naturally, at this point, the email requires Facebook login details and – for ‘authentication’ purposes – parts of a person’s credit card details.
The email links to a fake Account Disabled page, which asks for a large number of personal details, including credit card details.
Sophos Naked Security blog reports the emails as “completely bogus” because no social media site would ever asked for “financial information [or] request login details”. Once they have hijacked your Facebook account, they will use your information to spread the scam around to your friend and similarly your webmail to send it to email contacts, according to Hoax Slayer.
In recent months, Hoax Slayer reports, similar Facebook scams posing to be from Facebook security have been circulating, including one that claims your account was compromised and if a response is not received within 12 hours the account would be suspended.
The best advice if you think you receive one of these emails is to not open it in the first place — immediately delete — and if you do open it, avoid clicking into any links within the email.