Facebook scammers redirect victims through Amazon's cloud

Facebook scammers use links to Amazon's S3 service in their campaigns to trick URL filters

Facebook scammers have started redirecting victims through Amazon's cloud in order to bypass malicious URL filters, according to security researchers from antivirus vendor F-Secure.

One Facebook survey scam recently analyzed by F-Secure uses malicious browser extensions to hijack Facebook accounts and post spam messages on their walls.

The messages contain Bit.ly shortened links that appear to lead to interesting videos. However, in reality they point to redirect scripts hosted on Amazon's S3 service that send victims to a fake Facebook page.

The rogue page displays a video player image, which when clicked, prompts a window asking users to participate in a survey. Scammers earn money through affiliate marketing schemes for every user who agrees to participate.

The scam is distributed through fake extensions for Google Chrome and Firefox that are passed to victims as YouTube player updates. Users are asked to download and install these in order to watch the videos they clicked on.

According to F-Secure's chief research officer, Mikko Hypponen, scammers prefer to redirect users through links on Amazon's cloud because its domain name and corresponding IP addresses have a high trust rating. This increases their chances of tricking malicious URL filters like those used by Bit.ly or Facebook.

While the use of Amazon S3 links in Facebook scams is a relatively new technique, the hosting of malware on the popular cloud service is not a new practice. The Amazon S3 hosting service is not very expensive and a lot of cybercriminals are probably able to afford it.

However, some of them prefer to steal login credentials from existing Amazon customers and abuse their accounts, Hypponen said. "Some of the malcreants exclusively use accounts belonging to other people. Others create new accounts with stolen credit cards. Some create valid accounts and pay for them."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?