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Scammers take interest in Pinterest

Anushkar Mohinani | March 15, 2012
The social networking site has been affected by a slew of scams: Symantec

Pinterest’s popularity has enticed cyber criminals to invade the new social media platform as they seek to capitalise on the growing number of users of the photo sharing site.

According to a Symantec report, scammers are placing attention-grabbing links on images. “If an unsuspecting Pinterest user clicks on the link for one of the scam images, he or she is taken to an external website. The website states that in order to take advantage of the offer, they must re-pin the offer onto their own Pinterest board,” Symantec explained in a blog post . “This helps propagate the scam, as it then gains further credibility by being posted by a trusted source. Some of the trusted source’s followers subsequently fall for the same scam,” warned the cyber security firm.

Most of the Pinterest scams analysed by Symantec involve enticing users to take surveys, sign up for subscription services, reveal personal information and even install unwanted executables.

Some led to a cost-per-action based network, in which the scammer is expected to make between US$1 and US$64 for each successful conversion. Symantec speculated that a scammer could earn a few hundred dollars each day from these scams.

Symantec has determined that the Pinterest scammers were also behind some previously successful attacks on other social networks.

Symantec has advised Pinterest users to remove pins related to scam surveys as well as install anti-virus such as Symantec’s SafeWeb and IPS which are said to block users from seeing scam surveys.


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