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Business execs duped by fake social media influencer honey trap

Male executives in the oil and gas, telecoms and financial services sectors in the Middle East have fallen victim to a scam involving a supposed social media influencer that didn’t exist.

The counter threat unit at SecureWorks discovered social media profiles for a young attractive female British photographer named Mia Ash were not real. They had been created by hackers to build trust and rapport with the victims, which in turn led the execs to reveal confidential information and enable their computers to be remotely accessed.

The images used were sourced from the social media accounts of a Romanian Instagram influencer.

This ‘social engineering’ and ‘spear-phishing’ campaign – which aimed to exploit the human vulnerability of tech networks – is believed to been operated by ‘Cobalt Gypsy’, a group associated with the Iranian government’s cyber hacking group.

SecureWorks advised organisations to educate staff and discourage them connecting with online personas that they don't have a real-world relationship with.

In May, a survey found more than three-quarters of marketers identified cyber security breaches as a threat to brand value.

And with 83% of brand marketers citing influencer marketing as a top priority this year, B2B brands need to be aware of the potential pitfalls of this tactic.

Harnessing the power of influencer marketing in B2B

How can you embrace the power of influencers and use them to reach new audiences and increase the authority and awareness of your brand?

This step-by-step guide will help all B2B marketers understand what influencer marketing is, what it can do, and how to put together an influencer marketing programme that delivers results.

Discover how to start an influencer marketing programme

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