FTC: FTC and Federal, State and International Partners Announce Major Crackdown on Tech Support Scams. “The Federal Trade Commission, along with federal, state and international law enforcement partners, today announced ‘Operation Tech Trap,’ a nationwide and international crackdown on tech support scams that trick consumers into believing their computers are infected with viruses and malware, and then charge them hundreds of dollars for unnecessary repairs. As part of this coordinated effort, the FTC and its partners are announcing 16 new actions, including complaints, settlements, indictments, and guilty pleas, against deceptive tech support operations. This brings to 29 the number of law enforcement actions brought by Operation Tech Trap partners in the last year to stop tech support scams.”
TechCrunch: Facebook downranks News Feed links to crappy sites smothered in ads. “Facebook will bury links to low-quality websites and refuse to carry ads pointing to them in a News Feed algorithm change announced today. Facebook defines a ‘low-quality site’ as one ‘containing little substantive content, and that is covered in disruptive, shocking or malicious ads.’ This includes hosting pop-up and interstitial ads, adult ads or eye-catching but disgusting ads for products that fight fat or foot fungus.”
Artnet News: Company Launches Tool for Weeding Out Fake Artworks Sold on the Dark Web. “As online sales grow, so too do the chances of being conned. But fraudsters beware: a new tool launched by the Washington, DC-based consultancy Art Fraud Insights has been developed to spot fake artworks sold on the dark web, as well as identify those behind the spurious transactions.”
Miami Herald: Republicans want to muzzle database of consumer complaints . “U.S. consumers filed nearly 300,000 complaints last year about their dealings with banks, credit card issuers and other financial services companies. Most of those complaints were compiled and made available for anyone to see as part of a database administered by the federal government. But Republicans working to overhaul the financial regulation law known as Dodd-Frank want to bar publication of information from that database, which industry groups have long criticized as potentially misleading and incomplete.”
Krebs on Security: How Cybercrooks Put the Beatdown on My Beats. “Last month Yours Truly got snookered by a too-good-to-be-true online scam in which some dirtball hijacked an Amazon merchant’s account and used it to pimp steeply discounted electronics that he never intended to sell. Amazon refunded my money, and the legitimate seller never did figure out how his account was hacked. But such attacks are becoming more prevalent of late as crooks increasingly turn to online crimeware services that make it a cakewalk to cash out stolen passwords.”
Gizmodo: How to Spot a Link You Shouldn’t Click On. “Even as our tech gets increasingly sophisticated and intelligent, sometimes it’s falling for the oldest tricks in the book that breach the security walls we’ve put in place—like clicking on dodgy links or shady attachments that we shouldn’t. You don’t have to get tripped up by these simplest of scams though, if you know what you’re looking for.” Covers lots of scenarios, though I would have liked more external tools.
New Scientist: Thousands of fake companies added to Google Maps every month. “Local businesses on Google Maps aren’t always as local as they seem. Tens of thousands of bogus listings are added to Google Maps every month, directing browsing traffic towards fraudulent schemes, finds a team of researchers at Google and the University of San Diego, California.”