Miley Cyrus Sex Tape Facebook Scams

Miley Cyrus Sex Tape Facebook Scams

Part of a series on Miley Cyrus. [View Related Entries]

Updated Sep 24, 2013 at 02:00PM EDT by Brad.  

Added by Don.

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Overview

“Miley Cyrus Sex Tape” Facebook Scams are phishing schemes on the social networking site Facebook that trick users into authorizing access to spam software programs by using a non-existent sex tape of the pop singer-songwriter Miley Cyrus as bait. The scams began appearing as early as December of 2010 and have continued to resurge in derivative formats.

Background

On December 14th, 2010, the tech news site Tech News Daily[2] published an article titled “Miley Cyrus Sex Tape Phishing Scam Hits Facebook,” which reported that a phishing scam was using promises of a sex tape featuring Miley Cyrus to trick users into clicking a link in their inbox. The link would take users to a phishing site designed to to collect their Facebook account information, that would in turn post more spam messages to the targeted users’ Facebook friends. Also on December 14th, the scam was reported by the tech news blogs Naked Security[7] and All Facebook[5], who posted screenshots of the spam messages (shown below).



Celebrity Sex Tape Scams

Scams and malware programs have a long history of using fake celebrity sex tapes as bait. In September of 2008, a spam email with an attached file claiming to be a sex tape of United States president Barack Obama began circulating that contained several Windows viruses from Eastern Europe. In June of 2009, malware masquerading as a Kim Kardashian sex tape began spreading in messages online. In March of 2011, Smart Water created a commercial titled “Jennifer Aniston Sex Tape” (shown below) as a tongue-in-cheek joke to make the video attract more views. In April of 2012, a scam used a fake Justin Bieber sex tape as bait lure users on the social photo sharing site Pinterest to fill out marketing surveys.



Notable Developments

March 2011 Resurgence

On March 3rd, 2011, All Facebook[10] published a post titled “Warning: Miley Cyrus Scam Returns to Facebook,” reporting on a new version of the scam using a fake YouTube page prompting viewers to complete a marketing survey to verify their age, which would provide the scammer with a commission payment for each completed survey.



September 2012 Resurgence

In September of 2012, a new spam message titled “Breaking news” (headline is for news reports) began circulating around Facebook with a faked screenshot of Miley Cyrus (shown below, left). After clicking the link, the viewer would be taken to a new page with an instruction to paste a URL into the address bar (shown below, right), which would enable the malware to send additional spam messages from the user’s Facebook account. On September 28th, the scam was reported by the software news website Softpedia,[8] which provided a screenshot of the scam website (shown below, right).



The same day, the computer security blog Hot For Security[12] published a post titled “Yet Another Miley Cyrus Sex Tape Kicks Tagjacking Back Into Shape,” crediting the scam’s success with its use of Facebook’s “tagging” feature. On October 1st, the Facebook scam news site Facecrooks[14] responded to the hack by urging readers to customize their Timeline settings in order to avoid the scamware’s infiltration.[15] On October 2nd, an entry for “Miley Cyrus ‘Sex Tape’ Facebook Scam” was created on the hoax database website Hoax Slayer[9] and the scam was reported in an article on NBCNews.[13]

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