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E-book scam before Christmas

Do you read books in electronic version? If you are geek like me, certainly you do!
This scam was found by my friend just before the Christmas.

It was also promoted on social networks in the form of adds, it had its own spam campaign.
It looks very legit, on a first sight.
The promoted content had its own headline, the url formatting seemed just right, too.
It had even the counter telling how many other users were online.

What was fishy?

  • It always offered the book similar to your last search on google / any other site cashed in the browser.
  • The URL always ended with the string: “asin=” and some fixed length integer. If the integer was modified, it always returned some content. Always. Never got any error.
  • By google search on that string it was possible to find a circle of similar websites with the same application logic.
  • It offered any user to register to get the free pdf, but first the credit card number had to be supplied. And it had sophisticated JavaScript code to verify the card was not fake.
  • Once the credit card number supplied, it tried to do a payment to a very weird place in the cloud.
  • Once one of the sites was downloaded in full to an offline location, it still showed the number of “online users” generated by the php script 🙂


Since this case is still in research, no further IOC’s or visuals are to be provided.


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