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Senior Staff Writer

Scammers pose as CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, target security professionals

Sep 04, 20182 mins
PhishingSecuritySocial Engineering

Did they really think this would work?

Here’s an interesting, if not outright comical, story for those of you just coming back to work after a long Labor Day weekend. Scammers are pretending to be a well-known CNN anchor and offering serious cash to anyone looking to be a security commentator on air.

Earlier this afternoon, Salted Hash was contacted by a trusted source who shared a screenshot of a recent text conversation a friend and fellow security professional had.

The potential victim in this story did not want their name or organization referenced on the record.

The person responsible for the text messages pretends to be CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, and offers security professionals $300,000 yearly to come on to “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” and act as security commentators. All the victim needs to do is pay $3,000 via Western Union to get security clearance and approval.

The phone number behind the random messages is in Pennsylvania, but that wasn’t what raised red flags for the potential victim in this case.

It’s the fact someone posing as a journalist offered them money out of the blue for comments – something journalists don’t do. Once the messages continued, and the Western Union transfer was mentioned, our source was confident the offer was a sham.

Was this a random text, or is someone targeting security professionals? It could be either one. It might even come off as a recruiter, but the Western Union requirement kills that train of thought.

LinkedIn is a rich source of information, and for some consultants and security personalities landing a gig on CNN talking shop would be a big win. While one hopes a security professional wouldn’t fall for such a scam, people do strange things for the promise of a big paycheck.

In this case, the potential victim had their phone number attached to LinkedIn since before 2014, so it isn’t unreasonable to think someone is using previously compromised data to build a victim pool.

Salted Hash has reached out to CNN for comments and reactions, we’ll update when they respond. The full text message is below, and if you or anyone you know happens to get one, we’d like to hear from you.

scam text message offering a commentator job