Phished Facebook accounts become spammer's tool

A researcher links the attack to a Russian cyber-gang

Cybercriminals who went after Facebook users with a number of phishing attacks last week have now turned around and begun sending spam messages from the Facebook accounts they cracked.

Some of the spam contains "run-of-the mill" Viagra-type messages, but some of it is more dangerous, Facebook spokesman Barry Schnitt said Thursday.

"Some of it points to a site where users are hit with drive-by downloads of adware," he said in an e-mail message. " We've started blocking all of this spam this morning, have been deleting it, and resetting the passwords of accounts that sent it."

One of those sites, mygener(dot)im, (do not visit this Web site; it will attack your computer) is loaded with attack code that is used to install malicious programs, said Paul Ferguson, a researcher with antivirus vendor Trend Micro.

The site is hosted at a Latvian data center that has been associated with other cybercriminal activity, he said.

"My gut feeling is that it's the same criminal operation that was involved with the Russian Business Network," he said, alluding to an organized gang of cybercriminals based in Russia.

Attackers have also used the fbaction(dot)net and fbstarter(dot)com domains in their scams, Schnitt said.

Facebook's 200 million users were hit last week with several rounds of phishing attacks, which tried to trick victims into visiting phoney sites designed to look like Facebook login pages.

Users who think they may have fallen victim to one of these attacks are urged to reset their account passwords.

Facebook is disabling accounts that it links to the recent spam attacks, but the company won't say how many users have been affected, because that would let the bad guys know how effective its security measures have been.

So far it looks like "a relatively small number of users" were phished, Schnitt said. "It is much smaller than previous issues like Koobface, for example," he added.

Koobface was a malicious worm program that spread across Facebook last year, trying to trick victims into downloading malicious code.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags cybercrimeFacebookspam

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

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?