2Rob the Bank: Zeus Trojan
3Steal Plastic, Not Cash
Cisco Security Intelligence Operations responded to a pharmaceutical spam to see what was being sold. They received harmless placebos, pills made of unknown compounds and actual counterfeits that were chemically the same as brand-name drugs. Fake pharma generates an estimated $3.5 million a year, said Symantec.
5Fake Antivirus Software
There are a number of fake antivirus scams out there, where users are shown pop-ups and official-looking messages indicating their PC is infected. They are then prompted to buy antivirus software for $70 to “clean up” the “infection.” According to Comodo’s Abdulhayoglu, fake antivirus software easily brings in $160 million a year.
6Steal Game Assets
Online gaming is a money-maker for criminals, too. Players either pay real-world cash or play longer to earn in-game prizes and intangible objects. Spam spreads malware that steals game credentials and objects for resale on a secondary market. Symantec said one gang made at least $140,000 off gaming items.
7Threaten a Denial of Service
8Help, I Am Stranded!
Despite the jokes and the idea that “everyone” knows about it, this scam still dupes enough users. It’s not always Nigeria (China, Korea and Iraq are some of the other countries), but the message is the same: Give us your bank account info and we will give you gobloads of money.