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​Cyber firm warns of fake Facebook profiles posing as Vietnam’s football players

Thursday, January 25, 2018, 22:30 GMT+7

Hundreds of fake Facebook profiles posing as the players and head coach of Vietnam’s U23 football team have been created in the wake of the squad’s stunning performance at the ongoing 2018 AFC U23 Championship.

According to statistics released by Vietnamese cyber security firm Bkav, as of Wednesday nearly 200 fake accounts had been created claiming to belong to the team’s South Korean head coach Park Hang-seo and several of their players using a Facebook cloning technique popular among scammers.

The technique involves creating a fake Facebook profile by using images and other information stolen from a targeted user’s real Facebook profile.

At first glance, the fake profile can appear quite genuine, especially if the victim has all or some of their profile set to “public” – meaning there are few restrictions placed on who can view the page.

According to Nguyen Huu Cuong, moderator of cyber security forum, these clones are used for the quick collection of likes, followers, and interactions on social media, before the fake profile is renamed and utilized for other purposes such as e-commerce or marketing.

In more disconcerting scenarios, the clones may be used by hackers as a tool for ‘phishing’ – attempts to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details of a victim by appearing as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

Scammers may dupe gullible users into believing the clones are authentic by explaining that the profile is a player’s secondary account, as their primary one has met the friends’ limit set by Facebook.

The cloning is made easier by the fact that none of the players on Vietnam’s team have had their account verified by Facebook, a system in which authentic profiles of public figures receive a blue tick next to their name for fans to distinguish real profiles from clones.

A fan celebrates after Vietnam scores a goal during the semifinal against Qatar in the 2018 AFC U23 Championship in China,January 23, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A fan celebrates after Vietnam scores a goal during their semifinal against Qatar in the 2018 AFC U23 Championship in China, January 23, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The social media profiles of the Vietnamese players became a hot commodity following their extraordinary performance at the 2018 AFC U23 Championship in China.

Before the tournament commenced, Vietnam had been regarded as one of the tournament’s weakest teams, unlikely to make it through the group stage, where they drew into the same group with Asia’s football giants Australia, Syria, and South Korea.

The team have so far managed to defy all expectations and become the first Southeast Asian country to qualify for the event’s quarterfinals, before continuing to write their underdog fairytale with thrilling victoriesoverIraq and Qatar in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.

The feat ignited an eruption of celebrations across the nation, as fans enjoyed their biggest achievement in a decade.

Vietnamese fans also took to the streets to celebrate the Southeast Asian trophy in 2008, when the Golden Stars beat arch-rivals Thailand 3-2 on aggregate in the two-leg finale.

Vietnam will face Uzbekistan in the final in Changzhou at 3:00 pm on Saturday as both sides compete for their first Asian title.

The match will be aired live on VTV6 and Fox Sports.

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