SEC And FINRA Say ‘Pump And Dump’ Spam Increasing Sharply; McAfee Says ‘Botnet-Creating Malware’ Was Being Sold Through Liberty Reserve

From a first-quarter 2013 security analysis by McAfee Labs. Red highlight by PP Blog.

From a first-quarter 2013 security analysis by McAfee Labs. Red highlight by PP Blog.

DISCLOSURE: The PP Blog uses McAfee security software. The Blog is not compensated for its use of the software.

UPDATED 10:23 A.M. (JUNE 15, U.S.A.) The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) have issued an Investor Alert warning about a sharp increase in spam linked to “pump-and-dump” stock schemes.

The warning points to a threats analysis for 2013’s first quarter published by McAfee Labs, an arm of McAfee, the Intel Corp.-owned Internet-security company. The same document reports that “botnet-creating malware” was being sold via Liberty Reserve, the now-shuttered payment processor purportedly based in Costa Rica that was charged in the United States last month with orchestrating a $6 billion money-laundering conspiracy.

One of the “products” was described as “Vector Bot, for €1,000, payable via Liberty Reserve.”

Various bots and malware kits are sold on the Internet — and not always in English. At least two of the malware pitches reproduced in the McAfee report appear to be in Russian or Slavic derivatives. One of the products pitched from a forum was called “Dump Memory Grabber,” which reportedly was designed to steal “payment card information from several US banks, including Chase, Capital One, Citibank, and Union Bank of California,” McAfee reports.

“The malware’s author, who appears to have links to a Russian cybercrime gang, asks for US$2,000,” McAfee reports.

‘Pump-And-Dump’ Spam

“Spam e-mail is the bait used to lure people into making bad investment decisions,” said Cameron Funkhouser, executive vice president of FINRA’s Office of Fraud Detection and Market Intelligence. “No one should ever make an investment based on the advice of an unsolicited email.”

“Investors should always be wary of unsolicited investment offers in the form of an e-mail from a stranger,” said Lori Schock, director of the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy. “The best response to investment spam is to hit delete.”

Similar to an HYIP warning issued by FINRA in 2010, the new SEC/FINRA Alert on pump-and-dump schemes advises investors that “[t]hese false claims could also be made on social media such as Facebook and Twitter as well as on bulletin boards and chat room pages.”

On May 2, the PP Blog published a story about a pitch for a purported “opportunity” known as UPrivateBanking, a “program” pitched at victims on the alleged Profitable Sunrise HYIP scheme. The pitch appeared on Facebook and triggered a McAfee security warning. The website for UPrivateBanking triggers a “Phishing” warning.

Later, on June 2, the PP Blog reported that a “program” known as AdHitProfits that also was targeted on Facebook at Profitable Sunrise victims also was triggering a McAfee security warning. Like the Profitable Sunrise and UPrivateBanking schemes, AdHitProfits has a presence on well-known Ponzi-scheme forums such as TalkGold and MoneyMakerGroup.

 

 

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One Response to “SEC And FINRA Say ‘Pump And Dump’ Spam Increasing Sharply; McAfee Says ‘Botnet-Creating Malware’ Was Being Sold Through Liberty Reserve”

  1. I used to have “pump and dump” spam all the time in my spam folder, now it is only erection pills and payday loans. How do they know I need both of them?

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