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Eric Park | 14 May 2012 19:19:03 GMT

Symantec has observed an increase in spam messages containing URLs using the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for India. This chart shows percentage of spam containing .in URLs:

While there were few daily spikes last year, clearly there has been more activity in the last two months.

Looking back at last year, the ccTLD for India (.in) ranked tenth on our TLD distribution list:

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Rank TLD % of URL Spam
1
Mathew Maniyara | 02 May 2012 21:25:04 GMT

Co-Author: Ayub Khan

Customers of popular email service providers have been a common target for phishers for identity theft purposes. Phishers are constantly devising new phishing bait strategies in the hope of stealing user email adresses and passwords. In April 2012, Symantec observed phishing pages that mimicked popular email services in an attempt to dupe users with attractive storage plans.

Customers were flooded with fake offers of free additional storage space for services such as email, online photo albums, and documents. In the first example, the phishing site was titled “Welcome to New [BRAND NAME] Quota Verification Page”. According to the bogus offer, the additional storage plan ranged from 20 GB to 1 TB per year, at no extra cost. The phishing page boasted that the free additional storage plan will help customers prevent loss of data and the inability to send and receive emails due to exhausted storage space. It also stated that the...

Samir_Patil | 26 Apr 2012 06:46:31 GMT

Symantec is intercepting a resurgence of spam attacks on popular brands. Spam messages that are replicas of the Wikipedia email address confirmation alert are the new vector for the present. The said spam messages pretend to be originating from Wikipedia, and are selling meds, with the following subject line: “Subject: Wikipedia e-mail address confirmation”.

The spoofed Wikipedia page is a ploy to give legitimacy to the sale of meds online. The embedded URL in the message navigates to a fake online pharmacy site that is dressed up as a Wikipedia Web page. Furthermore, to give the email a legitimate look, the spammer has added the recipient’s IP address in the body of the spam mail. Needless to say this IP does not belong to the user.

Figure 1: Part of the spam message

 

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Mathew Maniyara | 23 Apr 2012 22:37:33 GMT

Phishers are constantly developing new strategies in an effort to trick end users. In April 2012, phishers created sites spoofing the Apple brand with fake offers for Apple discount cards. In this phishing attack, customers were targeted by region: namely, the UK and Australia.

The phishing sites mimicked the webpage of Apple and prompted customers for their Apple ID. The phishing page stated the customer’s long-term loyalty toward the brand gave them eligibility for an Apple discount card as a reward. Upon entering an Apple ID and clicking the “Next” button, the customer was redirected to a page that asked for more confidential information:

Here, the phisher explained that with a discount card worth 9 Australian dollars (rewarded to the customer), they can receive credit for...

Eric Park | 20 Mar 2012 18:41:34 GMT

During the past two weeks, Symantec has observed an increase in hit & run spam activities (also known as snowshoe spam) in its Global Intelligence Network. Hit & run spam messages have the following characteristics:

  • Usually originates from IP ranges with neutral reputation
  • Uses a large IP range to dilute the amount of spam sent from each IP address
  • Contains features (such as Subject line, From line, and URLs) which change quickly
  • URL is the call-to-action
  • Often uses large quantity of “throw-away” domains in a single spam campaign

Here is a breakdown of top three products or services promoted by such spam over last week:

Date

#1Spam Promo

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Mathew Maniyara | 19 Mar 2012 18:58:25 GMT

Co-Author: Avdhoot Patil

Phishing sites with adult content are not uncommon. Phishers have often used adult content as bait in fake social networking applications. In March 2012, a phishing site spoofing a gaming brand claimed to have an adult webcam application. The phishing site was hosted on a free web hosting site and the phishing page was in Italian.

A fake offer was given on the phishing site and an adult webcam image was placed below it. According to the fake offer, the gaming brand had prepared a list of users who were willing to perform nude webcam shows for a small price, even free. The phishing site further claimed that by entering login credentials one could receive through email the names of the users willing to perform and be able to add them to their contact list. The phishing site explained that login credentials were required because the brand decided could not disclose the names of performers outside the network to maintain privacy. To gain...

Ruby Yang | 15 Mar 2012 13:04:04 GMT

Nobody knew about Jeremy Lin a couple of months ago. But now, Linsanity rocks the world. Being a new NBA star, his name has already been mentioned countless times on ESPN, NY Times, and all other sports media.

If you are a fan of Jeremy Lin, you would probably like to collect his No.17 T-shirt, posters, and signature. One thing you would not like to collect is Linsanity junk mail. Unfortunately, spammers are jumping on the bandwagon as well.

As a Taiwanese descendant, Jeremy Lin’s background makes him unique in the NBA. Jeremy Lin inspires not only an enthusiasm for basketball, but also an interest in learning Chinese.  His humbleness and hard work also attract lots of overseas commercial invitations, especially in the Chinese market. In this particular trend, spammers use his fame to promote this Chinese flashcard website.

Lin has claimed that he is in no rush to use his...

Mathew Maniyara | 12 Mar 2012 22:35:45 GMT

Co-Authors: Ashish Diwakar and Avdhoot Patil

Phishers often choose baits with the motive of targeting a large audience. Using popular celebrities as bait is a good example. Phishers understand that choosing celebrities with a large fan base would target the largest audience and supply more duped users. This month phishers are using the same strategy but, instead of targeting a popular celebrity, they associated their phishing site with the popular FC Barcelona football club. FC Barcelona is the world’s second richest football club and has a large fan following. The phishing site, hosted on a free web hosting site, has since been removed and is no longer active. However, though phishing sites are frequently short-lived, internet users should be aware that other phishing sites using this or a similar template could easily be encountered in future.

The phishing site...

Mathew Maniyara | 08 Mar 2012 23:50:37 GMT

Co-Author: Ayub Khan

Phishers regularly introduce new types of fake applications with the motive of improving their chance to harvest user credentials. In February 2012, Symantec observed a phishing site recommending a fake application that allegedly removes “Timeline” profile for Facebook users. The phishing site was hosted on a free web hosting site.

The phishing site embedded the Facebook Timeline promotion video from YouTube, with the claim “Remove Timeline Now”. According to this phishing site, users will have their “Timeline” removed from their Facebook profile and get back their old profile page—only after they enter their login credentials. To make the fake application look more authentic, phishers added that it was protected by an antivirus product with the logo of the antivirus brand placed...

Samir_Patil | 21 Feb 2012 15:24:14 GMT

Thanks to Poonam Keluskar for their assistance with this research.

Maslenitsa (Маслница) is a religious holiday celebrated in Russia and Ukraine during the last week before Lent, i.e. the seventh week before Pascha (Easter). This festival is also known as Pancake week or Butter week. During this week people enjoy the social activities that are forbidden during the prayerful Lenten season, such as partying, dancing etc. This year the Maslenitsa will be celebrated from February 20 to February 26.

We are observing Maslenitsa spam targeting Russian and Ukrainian users that offers attractive tour packages. Similar to other Russian spam messages like online marketing promotions, spammers have provided a phone number to book the carnival package.

Below is a sample of a tour package spam:

Translation:

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