It can be just one of those days, you are surfing the web, and you come across a post or video which claims to hold shocking, inspiring, leaked or private videos. The post contains an image which certainly gets a hold on your attention, and you are hooked. You click on the link, and you are navigated to the website which should hold the video which you are looking for.
But the first thing you will see is actually something different then a video, you will see instructions on how to be “ABLE” to watch the video. These instructions come in various ways, they can claim that you will need to install a video codec, or that you will need to share and like the video before you are able to watch it.
Now this is the first part which the cyber criminals try to infect unaware users.
Once the user has downloaded the video codec, they are infected with an video codec which is manipulated by cyber criminals and hackers into a malicious video codec.
If you decide to share and like the survey scam website, you will be redirected to another website, which will claim that you need to provide information to a survey to proof that you are “a real person” or above a certain age.
In the survey scam step, the cyber criminal or hacker will be able to obtain personal information from unaware users. The information which is provided to the Survey scam is transferred to the cyber criminal or hacker.
The hacker or cyber criminal can use this information to login at private email accounts of the victims which have been lured to the Survey scam.
Survey scammers will publish thousands of malicious domains to increase their chance of infection. Each infection can be seen as a bag of cash for the cyber criminal.
The cyber criminal can sell the computer online, so it can participate in a “Botnet as a Service” environment, or it can be used to steal financial information from the victims which use the device.
How to identify them
Most of the survey scams can be identified very easily, but you will need to know what to look for. The first thing which is important to look for, is the type of survey. All surveys, and other legitimate web applications will provide an link to the official website, they will also include a disclaimer and user agreement link. If you want to participate in a online survey, then make sure that the earlier mentioned points are present:
- User Agreement
- Link to the official website (Survey owner)
Another big warning is once the survey starts asking you for personal information, this could be your full name or anything else.
Always make sure that you do not provide information which can be used against you. Cyber criminals will also setup multiple surveys which will be activated once you are ready with the first survey. They will do this, to collect information from you piece by piece.
Domain health check the “survey scam” website
On the MXTOOLBOX website you are able to check if the ip or domain is healthy. You can check this directly by using the link below:
How to remove them
If you think that you have been survey scammed, then it is wise to run an antivirus scan on your device. We also recommend you to take the following steps:
- FIRST change your email password
- Change your social media passwords
- Change passwords of any environment you use or is linked to the email account which you provided to the survey
- Inform your bank if you have provided your financial information
- Inform the police and your bank if you have provided financial information and you have been scammed (Money has been withdraw from your account).
We have also published these 3 tutorials on how to remove the survey scams from your device:
- How to protect your PC against hackers
- Best steps to take if you have been hacked or infected with malware
- Perfect guide on securing your social media accounts
If you see that an device has been hit by something which is called a “Generic Malware“, then the device simply has been hit by an malicious code which has been identified by antivirus companies, but they were not able to identify the family to which it belongs, so they simply put the name “Generic Malware” instead.
The crossrider malware is responsible for sending advertisements to infected devices, a lot of the devices get infected by installing malicious toolbars which have hidden functions.