by January 24, 2014 0 comments

What would you do if you see a feed on your Facebook wall reading that your favorite celeb is dead? You might just hit the share button OR check further on this news. In this age of micro blogging and social media, users tend to instantly consume/react to any content that is sensational and entertaining. While in a lot of cases these are simple pranks, others have more serious repercussions. As per recent news reports popular Indian celebs such as Amitabh Bachchan, Lata Mangeskar, Katrina Kaif made it to such hoax death lists. Celebrities being killed over rumors mills are not new and there have been many instances when celebs have been killed on social media sites and more commonly on micro blogging sites. Symantec in its recent blog post has elaborated on how cybercriminals are using Hollywood celeb death messages as a strong bait to trick users.

In fact, social networking sites are fast becoming easy outlets for phishers for experimenting new techniques in a desperate move to lure users. With the increasing broadband penetration and smartphone adoption, users in emerging Indian cities are also exploring the web and contributing to the lucrative pool of targets. According to the Norton Report 2013, India is one among the world’s top five countries for the highest number of incidences of cybercrime such as ransomware (11 percent), identity theft (11 percent) and phishing (9 percent). Evidently Indian consumers are becoming more vulnerable; as such forms of cybercrime are getting personalized. Additionally, cybercriminals come prepared with detailed research, exploit consumer’s emotions and employ sophisticated techniques to tailor make cyber threats.

At the back of these developments, we write to you to share a recent blog post by Symantec on ‘Rest in Peace’ scam messages that are continuing to spread on social media sites. According to Symantec, in some cases well-known international celebrities such as Rihanna, Jackie Chan, and Keanu Reeves have been falsely proclaimed dead. The sensational messages usually include a link to a video on the news, however redirects the user to a site with advertisements that ask the victim to fill out a survey. These ads and surveys generate revenue for the scammer.

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