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Facebook Launches New Legal Action Over Attempted Domain Name Abuse Scams
Social Media Today
Facebook Launches New Legal Action Over Attempted Domain Name Abuse Scams
Published April 15, 2021
By Andrew Hutchinson
Content and Social Media Manager
Facebook has announced its latest legal action to stop people misusing its platforms and branding, this time focused on a company which had been purchasing Facebook-like domain names with the intention of duping users via phishing scams.
As explained by Facebook:
"This week, we filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania against New Ventures Services Corp. (NVSC), a company that has repeatedly engaged in cybersquatting activities. NVSC registered hundreds of lookalike domain names that could be used to deceive people by impersonating Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp."
No doubt you've seen similar - every now and then, you'll get an email from a company that seems a little suspicious, from a domain name that's close to an actual business.
Note that the domain hosting this email address is 'facbook.com', not 'Facebook'. To experienced web users this is a fairly obvious scam, but still, many users do get duped by such, and will end up unwittingly handing over their personal info because of such prompts.
In this specific case, Facebook says that NVSC had purchased a range of copycat domains, including 'instagram-login.com', 'facebooked.net' and 'installwhatsapps.com'.
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Facebook has been working to combat this type of fraud for some time, adding tools like an official 'Recent emails from Facebook' tab within the app to double-check on any communications sent from the company (there's also one on Instagram).
But still, scammers will still try, and as such, legal action like this is an important step in combating such schemes.
It's the latest in Facebook's ongoing series of legal actions against platform misuse, designed to disincentivize criminal activity, and establish clear legal precedent for punishments around evolving forms of cybercrime. If Facebook is able to prosecute those undertaking such activities, that will help to deter future cases, and give Facebook clear legal ground to better enforce its platform rules.
This is an increasingly important element, which, beyond punishing these individual perpetrators, could also help facilitate the evolution of relevant laws for these emerging behaviors.
As such, it's good to see Facebook continuing to seek legal recourse against such activities.
Also, ensure you remain aware of such scams, and check such emails judiciously.
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Filed Under: Social Media Updates
How Facebook accounts get hijacked through copyright infringement notices
A new phishing campaign uses fake copyright infringement notices to hijack Facebook accounts.
Fake copyright violation notice aimed at stealing Facebook accounts
If you receive a message saying your Facebook account has been blocked for copyright violation, don’t panic. It’s most likely just another phishing scam.
Roman Dedenok January 26, 2021
The latest phishing campaign aimed at stealing Facebook accounts is gathering momentum. Users are receiving mass e-mails threatening bans for copyright violation. The aim is to steal the users’ login credentials. We explain the anatomy of the new scheme and how not to swallow the bait.
The message says something like: “Your Facebook account has been disabled for violating the Facebook Terms. If you believe that this decision is incorrect, you may file an appeal at this link.”
What could the problem be? A video you posted last year of your friends dancing to a hit song? Could that really be it? Well, maybe: The link does lead to a notice about music copyright infringement. The address of the page is facebook.com, and the notification page contains a link to an appeal form. So far, seems plausible.
Afraid of losing your account and without seeing any red flags in the link address, you might even enter your full name and username, as requested. Next, however, is a request no one should mindlessly obey: “For your own security, please enter your password.”
And … scene. Your login and password (i.e., your entire account) now belongs to cybercriminals.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Don’t follow links in suspicious e-mails. Even the savviest users can get caught off-guard by a well-written, well-designed message that gets through the spam filter, contains what looks like a good link, and generally seems legitimate.
What’s the trick?
On closer inspection, the scam isn’t really that clever. At every stage, there are warning signs. What’s important is to stay calm and alert. Panic can lead even cautious people down dangerous paths.
Let’s start with the e-mail. First, the text itself gives the scammers away. Although it lacks the kind of egregious language errors we often see in spam, anyone familiar with Facebook’s communications will note that the letter doesn’t read quite right. Then, to trick spam filters, attackers introduce small intentional typos into the body of the e-mail. In this case, they used the old upper-case-I-instead-of- lower-case-L trick. If your mail client uses a serif font, the substitution is easy to spot.
Here’s how the message looks if the mail client uses a serif font. The substituted letters give the scammers away
If the font is sans-serif, you may not detect that sort of change. So, let’s move on to the next clue. Pay attention to the sender’s address. The name says Facebook, but the actual address (shown in some clients in a nondescript gray color, unfortunately) has nothing to do with the social network. Official Facebook notifications would never come from an address like this one.
If your mail client uses a sans-serif font, lower-case L and upper-case i look identical, but the sender’s address betrays its origin: not Facebook
Now, the link in the e-mail does point to Facebook. As we mentioned, that’s another trick designed to fool spam filters — and you. But the page does not contain an official notice; it’s a note. Until last October, any user could create one using Facebook Notes. At the time of this writing, the tool has been disabled, but old notes are still accessible. At the top of the page is the username, which in this case looks plausibly legit: Case #5918694.
The address bar reveals that the text is someone’s Facebook note
The link is external but disguised as internal. Hovering over it, we can see that it redirects from Facebook to an outside website that has been shortened using Bitly.
The address of the link is visible in the lower left corner. At first glance, it might seem internal, but it points to an external resource via bit.ly
The link opens a form that asks for the e-mail address or phone number linked to your Facebook account. The page address looks a bit like Facebook’s, but a closer look reveals that it has nothing to do with the social network.
The address bar shows “.com” followed by a random set of numbers