Advertisements on Blogspot sites lead to support scam

Posted by   Martijn Grooten on   May 9, 2016

In our research for the VBWeb tests, in which we measure the ability of security products to block malicious web traffic, we recently noticed some sites hosted on Google's Blogspot service that presented the user with a warning about a malware error and a telephone number which they were urged to call in order to speak to "Microsoft technicians" about the issue.

Despite ransomware being the most serious (and for cybercriminals most profitable) threat right now, there is still a market for scams that exploit the hardest-to-fix vulnerability: human gullibility.

While support scammers initially took the initiative themselves and telephoned random people, telling them that they had serious (entirely fabricated) computer issues that needed to be fixed, the trend in recent years has been to present the user with a pop-up and make them place the call. In both cases, of course, there is a hefty fee for "fixing" these imaginary problems.

supportscamfiddler.png
In this case, the sites that served the pop-up were laden with ads, to such a point that the ads literally hid all of the sites' actual content (celebrity photos) — but a user wouldn't realise this until they actually visited an affected site. Though the majority of these ads were a mere nuisance, one of the (legitimate) ad providers served the pop-up through a number of redirects.

We have seen similar blogs affected by malvertising that serves exploit kits, which often leads to ransomware — a significantly more serious threat. But security software running on the endpoint does at least have a chance against ransomware. Against a gullible user there is no protection.

techsupportscam_5may_2016.png

At VB2014, Malwarebytes researcher Jérôme Segura presented a paper on support scams. At VB2016 in Denver, he and his colleague Chris Boyd will present a paper on malvertising. Registration for VB2016 is now open.

This blog was written by Martijn Grooten together with Adrian Luca.

twitter.png
fb.png
linkedin.png
hackernews.png
reddit.png

 

Latest posts:

Cybersecurity Assessment Tool launched by Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation has launched a tool designed to help nonprofit organizations assess their own cybersecurity efforts.

VB2020 presentation: Another threat actor day…

At VB2020 localhost Paul Jung, of Excellium Services, detailed an incident response that he and his team faced when, in December 2019, a Belgian hospital required their help to manage a breach of their informations system.

VB2020 presentation: Ramsay: a cyber-espionage toolkit tailored for air-gapped networks

At VB2020 localhost, ESET researcher Ignacio Sanmillan spoke about Ramsay, a toolkit specifically designed to steal documents and operate within air-gapped networks.

VB2020 TIPS presentation: Business Email Compromise – Scalable Attribution Powering Industry and Law Enforcement Collaboration

As part of VB2020 localhost we were proud to co-host the Threat Intelligence Practitioners' Summmit (TIPS), put together by the Cyber Threat Alliance. In a series of blog posts we highlight some of the talks presented in the Summit and the important…

VB2020 TIPS presentation: Collaborating with Competitors: A Better Strategy to Beat Adversaries

As part of VB2020 localhost we were proud to co-host the Threat Intelligence Practitioners' Summmit (TIPS), put together by the Cyber Threat Alliance. In a series of blog posts we highlight some of the talks presented in the Summit and the important…

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.