Kaspersky, the cybersecurity and digital privacy company, has warned of a surge in scams targeting movie fans in the run-up to the Oscars.
The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, are awards for artistic and technical merit for the film industry, held annually in the U.S., is holding Sunday, March 12, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
Scammers are using the popularity of the upcoming event to deceive people, with fake websites offering free streaming of Oscar-nominated movies prompting users to give away their personal and banking information and download malware, the cybersecurity and digital privacy company says.
Kaspersky: Uptick in websites offering free streaming of movies nominated for Oscars
Kaspersky experts have identified various websites that claim to offer free streaming of these movies, but steal users’ money instead. To access the movies, users are ‘required’ to pay a small subscription fee. Once the payment is made, users become vulnerable to unauthorised transactions that are either charged at equal intervals, resembling a noncancelable subscription, or in small daily increments until the account is drained.
“The highly anticipated Avatar sequel,” Kaspersky says, “has been used by scammers who have developed several deceitful tactics to trick users into downloading or watching the movie, including giveaway rackets. The scheme works by directing users to a fraudulent website where they are prompted to confirm that they are not a bot/robot by completing surveys for rewards. Once a user clicks the ‘play’ button, they are greeted with a message congratulating them on winning a prize of their choice, which may include a financial reward, H&M or IKEA vouchers, or a PS5 console.”
According to the tech security company, “the primary objective of the deception is to extract money from the user by requesting a commission fee for sending the prize. Additionally, the scammers collect personal information such as the user’s name, email address, and phone number with the promise of a financial reward or a gift certificate. This information may be used for identity theft or sold on the Dark web for malicious purposes.
Cybercriminals take advantage of major events like the Oscars, as the ceremony is lucrative for them. “It’s crucial to be extra cautious during this event and double-check the authenticity of any website offering free streaming of movies. Don’t fall for fake websites or giveaway scams that trick users into giving away their personal information,” warns Olga Svistunova, security expert at Kaspersky.
“The Oscars ceremony, the Kaspersky expert says, “is lucrative for cybercriminals who intensify their malicious activity every year. It’s crucial to be extra cautious during this event and double-check the authenticity of any website offering free streaming of movies. Don’t fall for fake websites or giveaway scams that trick users into giving away their personal information. Always use reputable streaming services and double-check website authenticity.”
To avoid falling victim to fraud, Kaspersky advises users to pay attention to official movie release dates in movie theatres, on streaming services, TV, DVD, or other sources.
They should check the authenticity of websites before entering personal data and only use official web pages to watch or download movies.
Double-check URL formats and company name spellings, use a reliable security solution, such as Kaspersky Premium, that identifies malicious attachments and blocks phishing sites.
They should also avoid links promising early viewings of content, and if they have any doubts about the authenticity of content, check it with their entertainment provider.
Kaspersky is a global cybersecurity and digital privacy company that provides innovative security solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments, and consumers around the globe.
The company’s comprehensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection and a number of specialised security solutions and services to fight sophisticated and evolving digital threats. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky technologies, and the company helps 240,000 corporate clients protect what matters most to them.
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