Love is a battlefield, beware honey traps: Kaspersky
By Digital News Asia February 27, 2013
- Various virtual 'honey traps' are not uncommon on the World Wide Web
- Caution should be practised when seeking partners online
THE next time you’re online on the hunt for a significant other, be mindful that others are hunting you as well – fraudsters, that is.
In a new report called “Honey traps on the Internet,” security firm Kaspersky Lab highlights some of the dangers of looking for romance on the Internet.
“The Internet offers ample opportunities for communication. However, it is not always a safe place to search for romance,” said Tatyana Kulikova, its senior spam analyst.
Spam emails imitating notifications from popular dating sites are widespread in almost all major languages. By clicking the links in these emails the user runs the risk of infecting his computer with some sort of malicious program that is usually downloaded, instead of the promised photos of a beautiful stranger.
Fake dating sites not only pose risks associated with phishing or malware – they can also jeopardize the wealth of the unwary user. One simple scam to loosen the users’ purse strings is to demand registration or confirmation of age via a text message costing anywhere from US$0.30 to US$12.
However, once the money has been spent, no access is provided because there is no content to access, Kaspersky Lab said.
The most creative type of junk mail, which has not lost its popularity throughout the years, is the 'Nigerian' spam. The authors of these letters typically target potential victims registered on dating sites.
The 'girl' who allegedly writes these sorts of emails usually lives in a distant, war-torn African country. Very soon the potential groom finds out his would-be fiancée is an heiress to a million-dollar inheritance and is willing to share her wealth with her betrothed.
However, to get his bride and her money out of the country her future husband is asked to pay for some legal services.
These tactics need long-term correspondence because very few people would agree to pay considerable sums guided by their heart rather than their head.
A robot answers the first email from a potential patsy but once the fraudsters understand they have got a chance, they immediately take control of the correspondence.
Processing a potential victim can last a long time and here an individual approach and an understanding of psychology are especially important.
Unlike these 'Nigerian' brides, 'Russian' brides only need money to buy an air ticket and finally meet the man of their dreams – and of course this money becomes easy prey for the fraudsters.
“We have described only a few of the honey traps lying in wait on the Internet. To avoid disappointment, follow the safety rules,” Kulikova added.
Safety rules for online dating:
- Do not visit unknown dating sites, especially those advertised in spam
- Do not open email from unknown senders
- Do not reply to emails if they seem suspicious
- Do not trust excessively generous or doubtful offers even if a pretty girl or a handsome man makes them
- And, the most important piece of advice, use reliable security solutions to protect your computer.
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