Week Ending: 29th October - A Roundup in I.T. & Tech News

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Cybersecurity awareness month is coming to an end this week, however staying safe all year round is no trick! As always, our weekly roundup this week is full of I.T. and Tech news stories that will surely give you a fright!

This week we cover everything from one million households in the UK being hit by Amazon ‘brushing scam’, a 17-year boy who had £2m of cryptocurrency seized by police and Facebook to be renamed as part of a major rebranding effort.

Let’s get you up to speed.

One million households in the UK potentially hit by Amazon ‘brushing scams’

More than one million households in the UK may have fallen victim to a scam known as ‘brushing’ after receiving mystery Amazon parcels designed to boost the rankings of third-party sellers.

Brushing involves an unscrupulous seller, or an agent, acting on behalf of the seller, sending usually cheap-to-ship items to unsuspecting people and then falsely logging it as a genuine sale in order to artificially inflate sales volumes.

An increase in reports of households receiving a mystery Amazon package at their home address has caused concern amongst consumer group Which?. The victims claim they haven’t ordered anything from Amazon alongside not knowing who could have sent the parcel.

The belief is that third-party sellers are exploiting Amazon’s highly competitive search ranking system for products, which favours items with high sales volumes and good reviews.

Some sellers have taken the scam a step further by creating a fake Amazon account linked to the recipient’s address to then purchase the item themselves and leave a positive fake review.

A survey conducted by Which? found that 4% (1.1 million nationally) of respondents said that they or someone in their household had received such a package, with 63% saying they kept the items inside its box.

Rocio Concha, director of policy and advocacy at Which? commented

“Consumers should be able to trust that the popularity and reviews of products they are buying online are genuine, so it is troubling that third-party sellers appear to be using brushing scams to game Amazon Marketplace. Amazon needs to do more to thoroughly investigate instances of brushing scams and take strong action against sellers that are attempting to mislead consumers.”

Amazon has responded to these incidents with an estimation of less than 0.001% of Amazon orders being impacted by brushing, however these attacks could lead to more suspicious behaviour in the future.

Read more here.

Lincolnshire boy has £2m of cryptocurrency seized by police

A 17-year-old boy, who set up a fake website as part of a ‘sophisticated cyber fraud’ stole £6,500 worth of vouchers after managing to dupe users into entering their personal details on his fake website.

The website was almost identical to the official site of Love2Shop, a gift voucher seller. Using the similarities, he was able to fool customers into thinking they had landed on the official website. He had even paid to advertise on Google, which resulted in the fake site appearing above the genuine site when people searched online for Love2Shop.

Following a complaint from a Love2Shop customer and an investigation undertaken by the official brand, the site was taken down a week after launching. From just a week of activity, the teenager was able to steal £6,500 worth of vouchers which he used to buy more than £2m of cryptocurrency.

To make matters worse, the police investigation also found over 12,000 credit card numbers stored on a computer and details of 197 PayPal accounts.

Find out more here.

Facebook reportedly planning to rebrand the company with name change

Social media giant, Facebook, is planning on changing the company name following a major rebrand. Mark Zuckerberg stats this is due to focusing on building the metaverse, but also as the company deals with the fallout from whistle-blower complaints.

The rebrand comes just two years after Facebook launched a new logo for the company and would likely position Facebook’s social media app as one of many products under a parent company. That parent company will also oversee groups like Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus and more.

Facebook’s name change may reflect the direction in which the company is going, as Facebook have already announced that 10,000 people will be hired to work on creating the metaverse. Could this rebrand be to focus all energy on the metaverse?

The concept of the metaverse is quickly becoming a buzzword in technology and business. It generally refers to shared virtual world environments which people can access via the internet. The term can refer to digital spaces which are made more lifelike by the use of virtual reality or augmented reality.

A relatively small number of major companies have changed established brands, Kentucky Fried Chicken shortened its name to KFC, Japanese car brand Datsun became Nissan, and the World Wrestling Federation became World Wrestling Entertainment. Some high-profile name changes have followed scandal or controversy, could this be why Facebook is looking to make a change?

Discover more here.

Those were some of this week’s biggest stories in I.T. and tech, but if you want more content, follow us across our four social media channels.