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Beware the Barbie Phishing Scam

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It seems nothing, nowhere and nobody is safe from scammers, the most recent ploy exploiting the popularity of the Barbie movie.

Cyber criminals are flooding email inboxes with phishing hooks and malware bugs that appear to be legitimate – offering a discount on movie tickets, for instance, or asking the user to test their Barbie IQ. Once the unsuspecting Barbie fan takes the bait, the crook has gained access to their system, and bad things will surely follow.

Researchers at the anti-virus firm McAfee identified at least 100 new malware instances over three weeks.

“The types of files varied but included typical types such as .html and .exe,” according to McAfee and KnowBe4. “As Barbie makes her debut on the big screen, scammers are aiming to cash in on the summer blockbuster. A rash of scams have cropped up online, including bogus downloads of the film that install malware, Barbie-related viruses, and fake videos that point people to free tickets—but lead to links that steal personal info with spyware instead. Cybercriminals are always on the lookout for opportunities to make phishing and other scams more attractive and believable. They often leverage popular and well-publicized events such as movie premieres, concerts, or sporting events to trick users into clicking on malicious links.”

Here are some tips from McAfee and the security awareness firm KnowBe4 to avoid falling for these scams:

  • Stick with trusted vendors. “Trusted retailers carry legitimate merchandise.”
  • Purchase tickets directly from the theater or a reputable source. “Another way scammers like to cash in on a hot ticket is to open a bogus online box office that charges for tickets. Of course, they won’t deliver.”
  • Watch for shoddy-looking sites. “Keep a sharp eye out for poor web design, typos, and grammatical errors, however small.”

SOURCE: Beware of the Barbie Scam: What You Need to Know After the Recent Movie Release (

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