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Security Response
Showing posts tagged with Email
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Samir_Patil | 25 Jan 2012 12:22:00 GMT

Spam levels always rise when a holiday or special event approaches. Symantec researchers are observing a surge of spam as Valentine’s Day gets closer and closer. Unbelievable discounts on jewelry, dinners, and expensive gift articles are the key themes for the Valentine’s Day related spam. Further popular fake promotions include: online pharmaceuticals, fake e-cards, gift cards, chocolates, and flowers. The purpose of these fake promotions is to capture a user’s personal and financial details.

Valentine’s Day related spam can easily be spotted by observing the “From” header as shown below:

  • From: "Valentine's Berries" <info@
  • From: "Valentine's Bouquets" <info@
  • From: "Valentine's Gifts" <info@
  • From: "Valentine's Presents" <info@
  • From: "...
Mathew Maniyara | 05 Jan 2012 18:41:38 GMT

Co-author: Avdhoot Patil

Special occasions like Christmas have been a common ground for phishers to introduce new baits in their phishing sites. Last Christmas was no different and this time they used fake lottery prizes and gifts as baits. The phishing sites were hosted on free webhosting sites.

In the first example, a phishing site spoofing a gaming brand stated they wil reward the user with a Christmas gift. The phishing site exclaimed it hoped users like the gift and wished to encourage them to playing the game. To receive the fake gift, the user is asked to enter their login credentials and also complete a simple form.

The questions asked in the form are the following:

  • Will you be playing this Christmas?
  • If you could help, which way would you help us?
  • What is your age?
  • Please select your gift.

The choice of gifts included credit points, VIP status, club membership, and a selection of badges....

Mathew Maniyara | 20 Dec 2011 02:17:51 GMT

Co-Author: Avdhoot Patil

Symantec is familiar with phishing sites which promote fake offers for mobile airtime. In December, 2011, the phishing sites which utilized these fake offers as bait have returned. The phishing sites were hosted with free web hosting.

When end users enter the phishing site, they receive a pop up message stating they can obtain a free recharge of Rs. 100:

Upon closing the pop up message, users would arrive at a phishing page which spoofs the Facebook login page. The contents of the page would be altered to make it look as though the social networking site was giving away free mobile airtime. A list of 12 popular mobile phone services from India would be displayed with their brand logos. Once the page completes...

Mayur Kulkarni | 07 Dec 2011 15:36:31 GMT

Spammers have used scare tactics in the past, notably during the swine flu outbreak in 2009. A similar spam campaign using scare tactics was observed during the weeks leading up to April 1, 2010 as an expansion of the Conficker worm with the possibility of a major threat launch. Overall, scare attacks are meant to cause panic reactions among recipients who may, out of fear, click malicious links or download and install malicious code. Similar approaches have been observed recently, this time with a false epidemic alert. In this spam campaign trumpeting false epidemic news, spammers try to infuse fear in users and encourage them to read instructions to remain safe from infection.

Sample email subjects suggest there is an epidemic in nearly all countries in the world. However, in...

Mathew Maniyara | 02 Dec 2011 00:48:14 GMT

Contributors: Avdhoot Patil, Ayub Khan, and Dinesh Singh

Have Indian websites become a safe haven for phishers? To better understand, let’s explore how phishers create a phishing site. There are several strategies phishers frequently use: hosting their phishing site on a newly registered domain name, compromising a legitimate website and placing their phishing pages in them, or hosting their phishing site using a web hosting service.

Let’s now focus on the second method which involves the use of compromised legitimate websites. From April, 2011, to October, 2011, about 0.4% of all phishing sites were hosted on compromised Indian websites. These compromised websites belonged to a wide range of categories but the most targeted was the education category which included websites of Indian schools, colleges, and other educational institutions. Symantec has previously reported on the websites of...

Mathew Maniyara | 30 Nov 2011 18:07:31 GMT

Co-Author: Avdhoot Patil

Symantec is familiar with baits commonly used in Chinese phishing sites. A grand prize, for instance, is often used as phishing bait. This November, 2011, phishers continue with the same strategy by including a brand new iPad 2 for a prize. The phishing sites were hosted on a free webhosting site.

The phishing page spoofs the Chinese version of a social networking gaming application. What is most interesting about the phishing page is that it displays a warning for an incorrect password (in red) even before any user credentials are entered. The phishing site announces to users that all fields are required to be filled before proceeding to the lucky draw. Users are prompted to enter their email address, password, email password, and birth date. The phishing site then states the winning email addresses will be drawn and winners would receive an iPad 2 and...

Emily Liu | 28 Nov 2011 19:27:40 GMT

Article contributed by Emily Liu, Symantec Security Response Technician

Most of the Russian spam emails we usually encounter are about online advertising, product promotion, and training workshops. These spam emails typically are sent out unsolicited from free or hijacked personal email accounts, without opt-out, and have randomized subjects to avoid being caught in spam filters. Despite the use of random subjects, we continue to observe spammers who like to list phone numbers in the email as the only available means of contact instead of direct URL links.

Here is an example of a recent Russian event promotion spam:

Here is the English translation:

Figure 1. Russian-language spam promotion...

Sammy Chu | 22 Nov 2011 00:17:22 GMT

How does Symantec know it's the week of Thanksgiving? Because as the busiest travel day of the year day quickly approaches, the day just before Thanksgiving , there is a surge in fake email ticket confirmations that lead to viruses.

Here is what a fake airline message looks like:

If you inspect the HTML coding for this message carefully, you will notice a malicious link in the anchor tag:

This link redirects to a known malware-hosting site in Russia which previously hosted Trojan.Maljava. Trojan.Maljava is a detection name used by Symantec to identify malicious Java files that...

Mathew Maniyara | 12 Nov 2011 00:21:01 GMT

Co-Author: Avdhoot Patil

When phishing through social media, fake applications are a key technique used by phishers to introduce new kinds of baits. In October, 2011, phishers launched a new fake application named "Maldivian App". The phishing site was hosted on a free webhosting domain. It should be noted the legitimate site does not provide such an application.

Phishers put in more creative thought and time than usual in designing this phishing page. The phishing site contained an image with details about the application and included a form for Web users to enter login credentials. The image presents a ribbon in the tricolors of the Maldivian flag accentuated with the logo of a social networking brand and a Maldivian flag T-shirt. A prominent description of the application boasts that, after logging in, users would receive "cool news" about the Maldives.

For those interested in learning more about Maldives, wouldn’t it be...

Samir_Patil | 31 Oct 2011 19:04:30 GMT

Contributor: Anand Muralidharan

Recently, the death of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi triggered a malware attack which Symantec previously blogged about. We have observed spammers' continued delight with this news event through the sending of malicious attack and 419 spam messages.

In the spam targeting residents of Brazil, a video showing Gaddafi asking for mercy and containing disturbing images also carries malware. By clicking the link provided in the email, users actually download a malicious executable file. Symantec has identifed this threat as Trojan.Ransomlock!gen4.


The email...