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“IQ Test” Spam Proliferating via Instant Messages
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“IQ Test” Spam Proliferating via Instant Messages

by Christopher TalampasSeptember 6, 2010

I recently came across a round of spammed instant messages that arrived via my Yahoo! Messenger account. These messages were supposedly sent from my cousin’s account, and used the following format and were sent to everyone on her friends list:

 

The familiar message format told me that I was chatting with a bot that wanted me to click the link in the message. Checking where the link went to led me to the following page:

 

The IQ test had 11 questions that eventually led to a “results” page that asked me to sign up and enter my mobile phone number to get the quiz results:

One may ask why the site would need a mobile phone number just to send IQ test results. Will they use this information to spam me through my mobile phone? Nor is it clear if the answers to the questions actually matter to the IQ “score” given to the user, if they actually receive one.

That may well be the case but the cybercriminals have a more direct approach to earn money. The Summary of Terms at the bottom of the page says that by giving the quiz’s creators one’s mobile phone number means signing up for “mobile content subscription.” Of course, this is not free, as the subscription fee ranges from US$9.99–$19.99 a month. This is stated in the site’s terms and conditions, which are located at the bottom of the page:

This gave me enough reason to close the browser tab and leave the website. The URL of the said “IQ test” is now blocked by the Trend Micro Smart Protection Network™.

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About The Author
Christopher Talampas
is a Fraud Analyst at Trend Micro Philippines. At Trend Lab, he is in-charge of monitoring malicious behavior in the web such as phising, pharming and spam. Christopher holds a BS degree in Information Technology. You can check out TrendLabs™ Blog for more of his work details.

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