Friday, November 20, 2009

'Twilight' Content Leaves Scammers Thirsting for Your (Digital) Blood

As per usual, malware purveyors are hopping on the latest fad in order to lure unsuspecting Web surfers into their dens of digital evil. And what are the kids talking about right now? Well, 'Twilight,' of course.

With the new installment of the teen vampire saga set to hit theaters Friday, Web searches for interviews with cast members, for bootleg copies of the film, and for other content related to 'The Twilight Saga: New Moon' have sky-rocketed. Using this buzz to their advantage, makers of viruses, trojans, and spyware are embedding malicious code in fake movie files and video streams, and posting the nefarious results.

Phrases such as "Watch New Moon Full Movie," "streamviewer," and "Stephenie Meyer at" are quite often used as bait to lure users to these sites. There, scare tactics like pop-ups warning of virus infection will try to get you to click a link that installs phony anti-virus software. Links to content on should immediately trigger alarms since, as Yahoo! points out, the site doesn't actually host interviews or media; it simply serves up screen savers and desktop backgrounds (though the malicious links don't actually head to, anyway).

The best way to protect yourself from such scams is to only visit trusted sites. If you're looking for interviews and they're hosted by a site that's not familiar to you (e.g., not YouTube, or Hulu, or, hey, AOL), then don't follow the link. It's better to be safe than sorry.

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