Chinese hackers targeted an enormous number of Indian e-commerce users during Flipkart’s Big Billion Day Sale 2020 in the festive season

While the recently concluded festive season was a great success for e-commerce players, Flipkart & Amazon India, hackers used the opportunity to scam millions of Indian users with the “Big Billion Days Spin the Lucky Wheel Scam”. An investigation conducted by CyberPeace Foundation reveals that Chinese fraudsters and hackers from the GuangDong and Henan province in China were responsible for creating these cyber-attacks which were then maliciously spread via WhatsApp and targeted at gullible e-commerce users who were trying to win free products.

Spin The Lucky Wheel Scam emerged within days of Flipkart announcing its Big Billion Day Sale. Chinese Scammers used this opportunity to create a similar-looking scam called “Amazon Big Billion Day Sale”. Internet users in India were sent spurious links to click on and participate in a contest where individuals could win an OPPO F17 Pro (Matte Black, 8 GB RAM, 128 GB Storage) smartphone. People who were duped into believing that they had won the phone as a prize would be asked to share the link via WhatsApp to their friends and family.

CyberPeace Foundation deployed open-source investigative methods to examine the links and following were the results

  • All the domain links were found registered in China specifically in the Guangdong and Henan province to an organization called Fang Xiao Qing

  • The hackers registered these domains on Alibaba’s cloud computing platform

  • Hackers hosted these links across Belgium & United States

  • As of today, these links are still found to be operational & active

  • Hackers used fake images & comments to create fake accounts on social media platforms to make the contest sound legitimate. One of the images in these accounts has been used in the past for a call girl service in India. The comments used were also similar to each other in nature.

  • The URL used for the contest redirects to multiple random sites all of which are fake

  • Big Billion Days is a campaign by Flipkart but hackers used the massive public interest in the campaign to make it seem as if the contest was being run by Amazon

Mr. Vineet Kumar, Founder and President, CyberPeace Foundation said, “E-commerce scams are not new but what’s more alarming is the covert cyber warfare Chinese entities are launching in India on a repeated basis. Spin the Wheel scam is not a new phenomenon and has been around for over a couple of years. Research says India has over 100 million online shoppers and as more people come online, we expect more such scams to take place. The information collected via these scams can be used to undertake more such cyber-attacks especially targeted at internet users in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities where awareness about such scams are low.”

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