Breaking dawn attack: How to avoid getting bit

A new clickjacking attack is spreading across Facebook targeting fans of the popular Twilight saga

A new attack is spreading its way across Facebook, targeting fans of the epic vampire series Twilight. The clickjacking scam demonstrates just how easy it is to spread malware socially -- especially if the bait is a phenomenon like Twilight that has such a devoted fanbase.

The next movie in the Twilight series -- Twilight: Breaking Dawn -- is due in theaters this November for the Thanksgiving kickoff to the holiday movie season. According to the Naked Security blog from Sophos, the new Facebook scam appears to be a link to a game pretending to promote the upcoming Twilight saga movie.

Amol Sarwate, vulnerabilities lab manager at Qualys, explains that the concept of clickjacking is not new, and has quickly been established as a staple of social engineering attacks. Essentially, the user is somehow tricked into clicking on something which leads to a variety of unintended -- typically malicious or at least mischievous -- actions being executed on behalf of the user without the user's knowledge.

"Sophisticated threat agents are now monitoring Twitter feeds to discover the subjects that are most likely to grab your interest so they can use spear phishing techniques or approach you indirectly through social networks," according to CTO of nCircle, Tim 'TK' Keanini.

Vikram Thakur, Principle Security Response Manager for Symantec, describes how an attack like this gets started in the first place. Symantec believes that attackers were able to used stolen or hacked account credentials to log in to Facebook accounts in order to upload images and tag them with friends of the compromised Facebook account. The tagging leads to the image being shared throughout the social network down to one or two degrees of separation from the hacked account and results in the attack being spread with each new click of the image.

In the case of the Breaking Dawn attack, the attackers would add the malicious app to the compromised Facebook profile rather than uploading an image, then 'Like' it and share it with the friends of the hacked Facebook account so those users will click on it and propagate the attack throughout Facebook.

Andrew Storms, Director of Security Operations for nCircle, told me that social media malware campaigns such as this are difficult to defend against. The tagged image or Breaking Dawn app are tempting because they appear to come from a trusted friend within the social network. Storms cautions users to slow down and think twice before jumping (or clicking) on the bandwagon when something seems to be spreading quickly through a network of friends.

It is not that difficult to avoid becoming a victim of a clickjacking attack -- even a socially engineered one targeting a popular theme like the Twilight saga. The main thing to remember is to always exercise a healthy dose of cautious skepticism with messages on social networks just as you would (or at least should) if a friend were to send you an email with a link or file attachment. If you think you may have already been compromised by the Breaking Dawn attack, you should go into your Facebook account settings and remove the app.

Randy Abrams, Director of Technical Education at ESET, sums it up. "There is a class of user who cannot be protected from themselves. Many users can learn from the mistakes of others, especially when the material is presented well. For the avid, rabid fan, sometimes the only way they will learn is to get bit a few times."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags spamantispamvirusessecuritytwitterphishingmalwareFacebooksophos

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.

Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)
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

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

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

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

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?