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Security Response

Would You Like Some Fish with That Phishing Site?

Created: 12 Sep 2013 11:14:56 GMT • Updated: 23 Jan 2014 18:04:14 GMT • Translations available: 日本語
Nick Johnston's picture
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Phishers are known for making their phishing sites look exactly like the sites they are spoofing. We have seen plenty of examples of the detail they employ, like using JavaScript to include the current date in their static pages. In recent times, Symantec have seen an increase in generic email phishing. Unlike normal phishing, where phishing messages usually have a target in mind (bank customers or social network users, for instance), the generic email phishing technique is slightly different. In generic email phishing, the phishers will target any email address; who the target is does not matter.
 
These generic phishing messages usually claim that the recipient's mailbox size has been exceeded, and direct them to urgently "re-validate" their mailbox to prevent disruption to their email. Symantec recently identified a generic email phishing website which, at first glance, appeared normal. It looked fairly amateurish—demonstrating phishers' poor design skills when they don't have a professional site to rip off—but the site was strikingly unusual for one reason: it had a fish pattern background.
 
phish_site_with_fish_600px.jpg
Figure. Generic phishing website with fish pattern background.
 
We are not sure exactly why phishers decided to use this particular background. Was it a random, unfortunate mistake? An inside joke among fellow phishers? Or perhaps a brazen but not-so-subtle hint to experienced users that it was actually a phishing site? Perhaps—since the site is partially in Italian—the phishers were unaware of the similarity between "phish" and "fish"?
 
To protect yourself from phishing scams, be wary of messages claiming that your account has been restricted or somehow needs to be updated. Keep your security software up to date. Symantec.cloud and Symantec Messaging Gateway customers are protected from these threats.