Cybercriminals are exploiting Barbie movie hype to launch online scams: Report 

Cybercriminals are using the success of the Barbie movie to launch online scams luring victims with free downloads and tickets leading to the theft of personal and financial information  

Updated - July 27, 2023 01:55 pm IST

Published - July 27, 2023 01:33 pm IST

Cybercriminals are looking to cash in on the Barbie movie’s success to launch scams as consumers search for Barbie-related items online.

Cybercriminals are looking to cash in on the Barbie movie’s success to launch scams as consumers search for Barbie-related items online. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Cybercriminals are looking to cash in on the Barbie movie’s success to launch scams as consumers search for Barbie-related items online. A slew of new online scams have cropped up, including bogus dubbed downloads of the film that install malware, Barbie-related viruses, and fake videos promising free tickets that lead to links with spyware instead, anti-virus firm McAfee said.

While the success of the Barbie movie is being used across the globe to target victims, India has been found to be among the top 3 countries facing such scams. Several examples of malicious campaigns that attempt to trick victims into downloading the “Barbie” movie in different languages were found targeting the Indian audience. Clicking on links prompts victims to download a .zip file which is packed with malware.

Additionally, as the hype around the release of the movie built up, instances of malware with Barbie-related filenames were also found targeting victims worldwide. And while the U.S. faced the brunt of these attacks, India and UK also faced instances of Barbie malware.

Attackers were also found posting fake and malicious videos to lure consumers with Barbie movie tickets by downloading a file loaded with malware. The malware known as “Redline Stealer” siphons personal information, login details, and other sensitive data from devices, the report said.

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While the tactic to use the hype around events and movie releases to spread malware is not new, users can avoid falling for such scams by observing online hygiene and being on the lookout for telltale signs of scams.

Protecting against “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” scams

Users are advised to stick to known and trusted brands when purchasing movie tickets or merchandise and avoid untrusted and shoddy-looking websites.

Some of the signs to look out for when visiting unknown sites include poor design quality, grammatical errors in text, and sites that look hastily put together. Scammers are known to put launch websites around hype events and movies for the sole purpose of luring victims. However, these websites are often hastily put together and lack a clean interface and important information about the owner of the website.

Users should also view offers, promos, and giveaways with a critical eye, and steer clear of promotions that seek money or personal information in return as this data can be used by scammers to launch further phishing attacks or implement brute force attacks to gain access to financial login credentials.

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