Cyber Criminals Target Internet Users with “Maruti Suzuki 40th Anniversary Celebration” Free Gift Scam

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WhatsApp messages masquerading as an offer from Maruti Suzuki with links luring unsuspecting users with the promise of Maruti Suzuki 40th Anniversary Celebration presents, have been making the rounds on the app. If you receive such messages try to stay away from it, as it can be a scam.

 

Reference Image for the Maruti Suzuki 40th Anniversary Gift Scam

 

The Research Wing of CyberPeace Foundation along with Autobot Infosec Private Limited have conducted a study based on a WhatsApp message that contained a link pretending to be a free gift offer from Maruti Suzuki which asks users to participate in a survey in order to get a chance to win a Maruti Baleno Sigma MT car.

 

Warning Signs

 

  • The campaign is pretended to be an offer from Maruti Suzuki but hosted on the third party domain instead of the official Maruti Suzuki website which makes it more suspicious.

  • The domain names associated with the campaign have been registered in very recent times.

  • Multiple redirections have been noticed between the links.

  • No reputed site would ask its users to share the campaign on WhatsApp.

  • The prize is kept really attractive to lure the laymen.

  • Grammatical mistakes have been noticed.

 

A congratulations message appears on the landing page with an attractive photo of Maruti Suzuki cars that asks users to participate in a quick survey in order to get a “Maruti Suzuki BALENO Sigma MT”. Also, the bottom of the page seems to appear like a comment section with public comments establishing the truthfulness of the offer.

 

Reference Image for the Maruti Suzuki 40th Anniversary Gift Scam

 

The survey starts with some basic questions like Do you know Maruti Suzuki?, How old are you?, How do you think of Maruti Suzuki?, Are you male or female? Etc. Once the user answers the questions a “congratulatory message” is displayed.

 

On clicking the OK button users are given three attempts to win the prize. After completing all the attempts a message pops up that the user has won “Maruti Suzuki BALENO Sigma MT”. It then prompts the user to share the message on WhatsApp.

 

Strangely enough the user has to keep clicking the WhatsApp button until the progress bar completes. After clicking on the green ‘WhatsApp’ button multiple times it shows a section where an instruction has been given to complete registration in order to get the prize.

 

After clicking on the green ‘Complete registration’ button, it redirects the user to multiple advertisements web pages varying each time the user clicks on the button.

 

During the analysis the research team found a javascript code called hm.js was being executed in the background from the host hm[.]baidu[.]com which is a subdomain of Baidu and is used for Baidu Analytics, also known as Baidu Tongji. The important part is that Baidu is a Chinese multinational technology company specializing in Internet-related services, products and artificial intelligence, headquartered in Beijing’s Haidian district, China.

 

To read the full report, please click here:

 

Conclusive Summary

  1. The whole research activity was performed in a secured sandbox environment where the WhatsApp application was not installed. If any user opens the link from a device like smart phones where WhatsApp application is installed, the sharing features on the site will open the Whatsapp application on the device to share the link.

  2. The campaign collects browser and system information from the users.

  3. Most of the domain names associated with the campaign have the registrant country as China.

  4. Cybercriminals used Cloudflare technologies to mask the real IP addresses of the front end domain names used in this Maruti Suzuki 40th Anniversary Celebration free gift campaign. But during the phases of investigation, the research team has identified a domain name that was requested in the background and has been traced as belonging to China.

CyberPeace Advisory

  1. CyberPeace Foundation and Autobot Infosec recommends that people should avoid opening such messages sent via social platforms.

  2. If at all, user gets into this trap, it could lead to whole system compromise such as access to microphone, Camera, Text Messages, Contacts, Pictures, Videos, Banking Applications etc as well as financial losses.

  3. Do not share confidential details like login credentials, banking information with such a type of scam.

  4. Do not share or forward fake messages containing links without proper verification.

  5. There is a need for International Cyber Cooperation between countries to bust the cybercriminal gangs running the fraud campaigns affecting individuals and organizations, to make the Cyberspace resilient and peaceful.

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