They warn about the new scam that gives beer through WhatsApp

“Free beer” are two magic words that catch the attention of those who love that drink. But they can also be a threat. Is that a An old malicious campaign returned to circulation in recent days through WhatsApp, according to the Latin American team of specialists from ESET, which is based in Argentina.

In the online scam, the identity of the Heineken beer brand is supplanted, but with a new seasoning: trying to take advantage of the situation of confinement due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With the recurring motto in these times, like “Stay at home”, the deception through the popular messaging app invites users to participate in an alleged promotion of Heineken delivering free beer to those who meet certain requirements.

The WhatsApp scam involving the Heineken brewery.

The WhatsApp scam involving the Heineken brewery.

By entering the link that includes the message you can see that it is not the official site of the company. In fact, it doesn’t even have the actual name of the beer brand in the URL.

Likewise, other details that are likely to arouse suspicions are the lack of context in the description of the alleged promotion, since in the case of a legitimate campaign it would probably be specified the effective date or details of the country to which it is addressed.

The curious user, the target of hackers

In case a distracted and curious user decides to enter the link, they will find a web page that invites them to participate in a short questionnaire, as a previous step to participate in the alleged benefit. From ESET they revealed that it is a known scheme in multiple social engineering campaigns that usually circulate through WhatsApp.

The WhatsApp scam involving the Heineken brewery.

The WhatsApp scam involving the Heineken brewery.

Once the questions are finished, the campaign requires the victim to share the promotion with at least 20 WhatsApp contacts or groups to obtain the much-desired prize.

Through this deception, cyber criminals they don’t just make sure to keep distributing the scam, but seek to lower security expectations of users when receiving the message from an acquaintance.

“Once the victim shares the message with their contacts, a redirect occurs with the aim of installing an adware on the user’s device,” says ESET Latin America computer security specialist Luis Lubeck.

The WhatsApp scam involving the Heineken brewery.

The WhatsApp scam involving the Heineken brewery.

And he adds: “In case the victim does not have a reliable protection system that indicates when a site is of doubtful reputation, the user may be affected by using their browser due to the appearance of unwanted advertising on a regular basis” .

In most cases and to avoid inconveniences in the face of these types of campaigns that come through WhatsApp, it can be used as a solution. a simple google search to learn about the supposed benefit. The results confirm that there are records of a similar campaign that was active in 2017.

After this period, the virtual scam returned to activity in the last two months, being Argentina the country with the highest circulation.

What the specialists recommend

As with any phishing or social engineering campaign, in order not to be a victim of this type of deception or similar, it is important that users are attentive to these types of messages and that they check the URL that contains the message before clicking.

In addition to the recommendation to carry out a manual search to see if information is found about this promotion, ESET recommends taking into account five considerations:

1) Be suspicious of promotions that come through unofficial means. Companies often disseminate offers and promotions through official channels, either the website or social media.

2) Avoid clicking on suspicious links, even if they were sent by someone you know. As we saw in this article, the propagation of the campaign is done between the victim’s own contacts.

3) Install a reliable security solution on every Internet-connected device you use, including mobile devices.

4) Keep your devices updated.

5) Do not share information, links or files without being sure where they come from.

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