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Sex, lies and phone apps

Wellington - Cybercriminals are using fake celebrity sex videos, an imitation of the Angry Birds game and Facebook to get victims to hand over credit card details and download viruses.

And an increasing amount of software is exploiting everyday activity, such as downloading mobile phone apps and browsing popular websites such as YouTube, according to a new report by internet security company AVG Technologies.

Meanwhile, the Angry Birds have teamed up with Star Wars, with the birds now dressed up as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. Credit: REUTERS

One of last year's biggest threats was “scareware'' software dubbed LizaMoon, which tricked victims into downloading fake antivirus programs.

For those using Mozilla Firefox, the user is presented with “never-before-seen'' celebrity sex videos but when they click the “play'' button, they are told to update their Flash installation.

However, the video is a fake and installs “Trojan horse'' software disguised as a Flash update, which gives a hacker access to a computer.

For those using Microsoft Internet Explorer, the LizaMoon software shows a link to pop up to a fake anti-virus product which claims to have found security threats on the user's computer. Once downloaded, the user is then prompted for payment to purchase the fake software.

Facebook scams - such as the ones that promise to reveal who has looked at your profile, only to source users' personal data - were the third most common threat last year.

The report also warned against using online pharmacies as there was a good chance the products were not what they were claimed to be.

Cybercriminals also used the popular Angry Birds game to hook in victims.

AVG Technologies found a Trojan-infected version of the app called Angry Birds Space uses the same icon and graphics.

The fake app fools users by making them think its the real thing and “will therefore be less likely to become aware of its sinister activities'', the AVG report said.

Michael McKinnon, security adviser at the company, said it was vital for consumers to think before they clicked “OK'' to anything online or on their phone. - New Zealand Herald

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