How online scammers are taking advantage of 'Barbie' mania

How online scammers are taking advantage of ‘Barbie’ mania

They’re thinking outside the box.

Merchandisers and celebrity makeover artists aren’t the only ones cashing in on the success of the “Barbie” movie.

Cybersecurity experts are warning of online scammers using the summer blockbuster’s cachet to steal bank info from legions of pink-pilled moviegoers.

“Cybercriminals are always on the lookout for opportunities to make phishing and other scams more attractive and believable,” Steve Grobman, chief technology officer of software security firm McAfee, said on the company’s blog. “They often leverage popular and well-publicized events such as movie premieres, concerts, or sporting events to trick users into clicking on malicious links.”

The cybersecurity company reports it has documented 100 new instances of malware with “Barbie-related filenames” in the last three weeks alone — with 37% of them occurring in the US.

One of many Mattel-flavored malware scams circulating the interwebs amid the “Barbie” craze.

Scammers are purportedly looking to make big bucks off the Greta Gerwig-directed comedy, which landed at No. 1 at the box office with $70.5 million in sales in its first two days.

These digital Trojan horses include malware masquerading as film downloads, “Barbie”-related viruses and bogus videos that advertise free tickets but instead pull up links that hijack personal info with spyware.

“The videos will direct potential victims to a Discord server or a website,” McAfee writes. “There, attackers prompt visitors to download a large size .exe file. As before, the file is loaded with malware, such as a variety known as ‘Redline Stealer’ that siphons personal info, login information, and more from devices.”

A "Barbie"-based scam that invites users to lick on a malware-generating link.
Another “Barbie”-based spear-phishing scheme.

In other instances, the scam might contain an email or a social media link that leads to a video labeled “Barbie the Movie” or “Barbie Movie Behind-the-Scenes,” the Sun reported.

When the user clicks on the link, they pull up a website that looks legit but asks them to input their email address, credit card details and other personal information.

The scammer uses this data to hack into the user’s bank account.

Stealing the digits on people’s plastic, it ain’t fantastic.

Margot Robbie poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Barbie' on Wednesday, July 12, 2023, in London.
Margot Robbie poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of “Barbie” in London.
Scott Garfitt/Invision/AP

To avoid getting hornswoggled, McAfee advises “Barbie” fans to stick with reliable retailers and streamers, purchase tickets from a bona fide theater chain or reputable app and watch for shoddy-looking sites.

“With big media events come big marketing efforts, and scammers will do their best to blend in with them,” McAfee warns of this scam-ouflage. “A quick way to sniff out a scam is to take a close look at the promotion. If it asks you to provide your bank or card information to qualify, count on it being a scam.”

A pie char depicting the malware distribution by country, as of July 20, 2023
Malware distribution by country, as of July 20, per McAfee.

The company added: “Put simply, steer clear of promotions that ask for something in return, particularly if it’s your money or personal information.”

Speaking of taking advantage of “Barbie” audiences, fans of the much-hyped film were outraged after it was revealed that AMC theaters were selling “Mattel”-inspired popcorn bundles for a whopping $65.

Source by [New York Post]

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