Building a fake company

Well this is a first.

Twitter user Plazmaz brought a scam github repository and web site to my attention; see his thread on Twitter for details. It’s a pretty obviously fake site, and there is some evidence in the metadata Plazmaz uncovered that indicates it is a university cybersecurity student project — or, that the scammers want investigators to think that it is.

The reason it was brought to my attention is because the authors of the site used a photo from this blog as part of their scheme! The scammer blog post is here and my original is here.

If this is a university project: please do not teach your students that it is acceptable to use other people’s work in your coursework without attribution or permission. You would not tolerate students passing off someone else’s work as their own in other academic pursuits.

If this is a scam then the fact that they’re using a stolen photo — and one that is easily seen to be stolen! — as part of their scheme might seem like a flaw, but in fact it is a feature of the scam. The scammers are looking for unsophisticated and gullible people who will be easily fooled; making the deception easy to uncover is therefore a filter that excludes people of normal gullibility from the pool of possible victims. This great paper from Microsoft Research goes into the math.

2 thoughts on “Building a fake company

  1. Aha! But how do we know your office is not the scam?? Maybe you’ve set up 20 years worth of fake profile and contributions to SO and stuff just to fool all of us into believing you fake office (that you stole from these poor students) is real…

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