No nude celebs from LinkedIn, just malware

Hackers have seeded LinkedIn, the business networking service, with bogus celebrity profiles.

Hackers have seeded LinkedIn, the business networking service, with bogus celebrity profiles that link to malicious sites serving up attack code, a security researcher said Wednesday.

Unlike Twitter, which had nearly three-dozen legitimate accounts hijacked Monday, LinkedIn was not compromised. Instead, criminals used the service to create phony profiles, gave them celebrities' names and slapped on the word "nude" to further entice users. Among the names: singer Beyonce and actresses Christina Ricci, Kirsten Dunst and Kate Hudson.

The identical profiles all sported links to sites that promised nude photographs of the celebrities, said Paul Ferguson, a threat researcher at security vendor Trend Micro Inc. Users who clicked on those sites were shunted to malicious sites hosting malware.

"They're using the same mechanism as have earlier e-mail spam campaigns, telling users that they have to install a [video] codec," said Ferguson. The codec is nothing of the sort, but actually a disguised Trojan horse. "They're just casting a wider net using LinkedIn," he said.

LinkedIn reacted quickly, according to Ferguson, who said that the fake accounts first appeared on the site Tuesday. "Once they were notified, they quickly took them down. There's only a handful left when I last looked."

Rival security firm McAfee Inc. said yesterday that it had spotted "several hundred" bogus LinkedIn accounts.

The recent criminal activity on social-style sites -- Twitter was targeted with a first-ever major phishing campaign last week, for example -- will only get worse, Ferguson predicted.

"[Cybercriminals are] just trying to get more eyeballs on their handiwork," he said, explaining why they are turning to social networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook , as well as the micro-blogging Twitter service. "There's a blackhat SEO [search engine optimization] element here, too, since sites like LinkedIn and Facebook often float to the top of search engine results."

McAfee, in fact, came to its count of fake LinkedIn accounts simply by searching Google.

There's not a lot security software can do for users who keep clicking on links that more than likely lead to malware, Ferguson acknowledged. "There's always going to be that social engineering aspect," he said. "People should know by now not to click on links that promise nude pictures."

LinkedIn did not immediately respond to questions about the fake accounts, and what it plans to do to prevent a recurrence.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags LinkedInsocial networking

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?