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How online scammers are taking advantage of ‘Barbie’ mania


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They’re pondering outdoors the field.

Merchandisers and superstar makeover artists aren’t the one ones cashing in on the success of the “Barbie” film.

Cybersecurity consultants are warning of on-line scammers utilizing the summer time blockbuster’s cachet to steal financial institution information from legions of pink-pilled moviegoers.

“Cybercriminals are all the time looking out for alternatives to make phishing and different scams extra engaging and plausible,” Steve Grobman, chief technology officer of software security firm McAfee, stated on the corporate’s weblog. “They typically leverage common and well-publicized occasions corresponding to film premieres, live shows, or sporting occasions to trick customers into clicking on malicious hyperlinks.”

The cybersecurity firm experiences it has documented 100 new situations of malware with “Barbie-related filenames” within the final three weeks alone — with 37% of them occurring within the US.

A "Barbie" video scam.
Considered one of many Mattel-flavored malware scams circulating the interwebs amid the “Barbie” craze.

Scammers are purportedly seeking to make large bucks off the Greta Gerwig-directed comedy, which landed at No. 1 on the field workplace with $70.5 million in gross sales in its first two days.

These digital Trojan horses embody malware masquerading as movie downloads, “Barbie”-related viruses and bogus movies that publicize free tickets however as an alternative pull up hyperlinks that hijack private information with spy ware.

“The movies will direct potential victims to a Discord server or a web site,” McAfee writes. “There, attackers immediate guests to obtain a big dimension .exe file. As earlier than, the file is loaded with malware, corresponding to a range often called ‘Redline Stealer’ that siphons private information, login info, and extra from gadgets.”

A "Barbie"-based scam that invites users to lick on a malware-generating link.
One other “Barbie”-based spear-phishing scheme.

In different situations, the rip-off would possibly include an e-mail or a social media hyperlink that results in a video labeled “Barbie the Film” or “Barbie Film Behind-the-Scenes,” the Sun reported.

When the consumer clicks on the hyperlink, they pull up a web site that appears legit however asks them to enter their e-mail tackle, bank card particulars and different private info.

The scammer makes use of this information to hack into the consumer’s checking account.

Stealing the digits on folks’s plastic, it ain’t implausible.

Margot Robbie poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Barbie' on Wednesday, July 12, 2023, in London.
Margot Robbie poses for photographers upon arrival on the premiere of “Barbie” in London.
Scott Garfitt/Invision/AP

To keep away from getting hornswoggled, McAfee advises “Barbie” followers to stay with dependable retailers and streamers, buy tickets from a bona fide theater chain or respected app and look ahead to shoddy-looking websites.

“With large media occasions come large advertising efforts, and scammers will do their finest to mix in with them,” McAfee warns of this scam-ouflage. “A fast option to sniff out a rip-off is to take an in depth have a look at the promotion. If it asks you to offer your financial institution or card info to qualify, depend on it being a rip-off.”

A pie char depicting the malware distribution by country, as of July 20, 2023
Malware distribution by nation, as of July 20, per McAfee.

The corporate added: “Put merely, keep away from promotions that ask for one thing in return, notably if it’s your cash or private info.”

Talking of benefiting from “Barbie” audiences, followers of the much-hyped movie had been outraged after it was revealed that AMC theaters had been promoting “Mattel”-inspired popcorn bundles for a whopping $65.


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