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Beware the fake Megaupload sites

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The people behind Megaupload might be working hard to get the site back up, but so are scammers.

Sites were popping up on Friday claiming to be the reincarnation of Megaupload, the popular website taken down by U.S. federal authorities on Thursday. But most of the imitators so far look like phishing sites, said Don Bowman, CTO for Sandvine, an Internet traffic equipment vendor.

One site has only an IP address for its locator, rather than a website name people can remember, but claims to be the location for the new Megaupload. "We are working to be back full again," the site says.

It's unlikely, however, that a site as popular as Megaupload would use only an IP address. For one thing, everyone visiting the site would be hitting the same server. Before it was shut down, Megaupload accounted for nearly 1 percent of traffic in North America, putting it in league with Facebook, Bowman said.

Spelling errors, such as one that warns people to beware of "pishers," are another sign that a page is likely to be fake, Bowman said. One way to test a site is to use a fake password when logging in, he said. If the site accepts the wrong password, it means phishers are running it in hopes of capturing real user names and passwords.

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