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  • Writer's pictureMarco Lam

Extended Investigation of maladvertisement campaign

With this proven case, StormEye extended its instigations to other potentially malicious Facebook advertisements. One prominent celebrity Mr. Andy Lau was found to have been victim to maladvertisements which have the same. We observed that this could be an auto-generated maladvertisment with selected celebrities to lower the users’ suspicious so as to lure them into the deceit.

The following screenshot shows the maladvertising content with Andy Lau.

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Figure 4 Screenshot of maladvertising content with Andy Lau

When compared, the websites, in design, user interface and tone, of Andy Lau and Alan Tam, are very similar. These advertisements seem to be crafted for a specific pool of people in Hong Kong people. By searching for specific and repeated key words such as, "最新嘅投資令各專家無語,各大行無言" (the latest investments that major investment banks and experts could not matched) , we found that a number of Hong Kong Chinese celebrities including 郭炳江, 張學友, 楊穎 and 李嘉誠.were used in maladvertising campaigns. These celebrities and their management companies have publicly denounced these advertisements for being fake and are likely related to phishing.

Other than searching the title wordings, we observed that Google image search helps for finding related maladvertising contents. By searching the following 2 images, we found multiple maladvertising websites that are very identical but in different languages.

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Figure 5 Fingerprint image 1 for maladvertisment hunting

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Figure 6 Fingerprint image 2 for maladvertisment hunting

Searching both images return many websites related to the maladvertisment. We randomly picked some of the results and found that all are very identical for example: a celebrity interview of secret investment, and a successful example of earning money with the cryptocurrency trading platform. The finding also shows maladvertising campaign is not a geolocation-specified, but a worldwide campaign which is localized and tailor-made it’s the content for phishing particular characterized groups of people.


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