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Snared in the net

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Caution: Internet thieves!

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Stealing an account from its owner is a frequent phenomenon. Stolen accounts are in demand among cybercriminals. Accounts with thousands of friends are valued more highly. If you have just a couple dozen friends on a social network and aren’t a public personality, your account has little chance of being compromised. Such accounts are not in demand, so don't lose any sleep over it.

Why cybercriminals steal accounts

More often it’s to resell them and use them for criminal purposes—extortion, blackmail, spreading slander, incitement, recruiting people into criminal organizations, trolling, stealing funds, etc. Less often it’s to hold an account hostage until its owner pays a ransom to access their account again.

How cybercriminals steal accounts

Special malicious programs are used. Trojans replace the hosts file, and the victim is redirected to a fake (phishing) page that mimics a real page of a social network or a portal. And, there, you enter your account login and password. Just a few minutes later, and your account is no longer yours—it already belongs to hackers. You also risk losing your account when you consciously visit a phishing site, for example, by following the link in a message supposedly from a social network—in this case, social engineering techniques rather than malware are used to commit fraud.

Thus, stealing accounts, for example, in a social network is a crime.

The Anti-virus Times recommends

It takes a lot of effort to promote account or group. And some people want to have a promoted account right now…

  1. Don’t buy accounts. You won’t be able to make sure that the account you buy has not been stolen, and after a while, you risk becoming the target of blackmail by its supposed former owner.
  2. Change your account password regularly—at least once a month—to prevent it from being stolen.
  3. If an account you created from scratch gets stolen, know that this is a crime. In the future, with the help of your account, attackers can engage in blackmail, extortion, trolling, reposting extremist or defamatory materials—i.e., they can commit new crimes, but now on your behalf.
  4. Of course, upon investigation, it usually becomes clear that the owner of a stolen account is innocent, but it will cost a lot in terms of time and nerves. Contact the police and file a report describing what happened—this will subsequently save you time and spare your nerves.
  5. Use anti-virus software that includes an anti-spam module and HTTP monitor. They will protect you from receiving phishing emails used to carry out attacks on account owners, as well as from referrals to phishing sites. These protection components are available in Dr.Web Security Space.


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