We all have different opinions on the Justin Bieber phenomenon, but there is no denying his star-power and influence over the younger generation. The Canadian star is constantly in the headlines for the wrong reasons, including a DUI arrest last week. Interestingly, this event has deeply affected information security worldwide.
Despite Bieber’s unorderly behavior, his followers initiated a massive #FreeBieber campaign on the web. But they were not the only ones active on the net. Malwarebytes, an internet security firm, researched the spamming schemes that popped up riding on the latest “Bieber-Wave”.
Commercial spammers and hackers are using the latest incident to lure the unsuspecting Bieber fans into completing bogus surveys and compromising their personal computers. While this is not exactly a new cybercrime technique, the involvement of young kids has complicated the situation.
The exploitation is taking place via a seemingly normal YouTube Video with links to “exclusive” Justin Bieber photos and videos from his aforementioned run-in with law enforcement officials. Hundreds of innocent kids are unsuspectingly clicking on the links attached in the video description. But the results are not as promised by the spammers.
The victims are first forced into taking unrelated online surveys, earning the spammers generous commissions. They are then re-directed to rogue download sites. When the “download button” is clicked, the user’s computer gets infected. Malwarebytes researchers detected 108 malicious files on their computers after briefly playing around with the links.
This is not the only Justin Bieber scam on the net…
Bieber’s popularity is also being misused on Facebook, arguably the most popular social media platform amongst youngsters. False news is being distributed and kids are tempted with a video file that they must share before watching. In reality, they are again directed to the same bogus surveys and malicious download sites.
As mentioned earlier, these types of exploitations and manipulations are not exclusive to Justin Bieber fan circles. Parents and school network administrators are advised to take a pro-active approach when it comes to young kids and teenagers. Raising security awareness can help create a safer cyberspace with lesser exploitations.
Source 1 – YouTube Malware Scam
Source 2 – Facebook Malware Scam