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Security Response
Showing posts tagged with Online Fraud
Showing posts in English
Mayur Kulkarni | 01 Feb 2012 01:13:10 GMT

Nothing can be more enticing than to be chosen for some free goodies—be it mementos, a cash prize, or a ticket to watch a game. It gets even more interesting if you are from a cricket crazy continent and suddenly, out of the blue, you receive an email saying that you are “the chosen one”!

What would you do? At first thought you would pounce on the opportunity, like a jungle tiger does its prey. But hang on a second! What you might be thinking is an opportunity of a lifetime, sadly, is just the opposite. Let me put it bluntly: if you have received such an email, you are "the chosen prey”. And if you decide to reply to it, then you could be in for some big trouble!

Millions of people get scammed every day with such fantastic offers. The sad part of the story is that many get plundered in this game. Scammers put in a lot of planning before sending out such emails. Upcoming events are focused upon, strategies are formalized, and...

Sammy Chu | 30 Jan 2012 20:08:01 GMT

Malware is often embedded in email as compressed attachments (such as .zip, .rar, etc.). Recently, however, Symantec has noticed an increase in malicious email attacks with .htm (HTML) attachments.

Here is what the message looks like in your inbox:

The attack contains a .htm attachment and obfuscated JavaScript is embedded in the coding of the file. The purpose of the JavaScript is to redirect your internet browser to a malware-hosting site in Russia which contains Trojan.Pidief and Trojan.Swifi.

Malicious JavaScript, when injected into an HTML file, can:

  • Exploit browser and plugin vulnerabilities to run arbitrary code
  • Display fake antivirus scans and other fraudulent...
Mathew Maniyara | 27 Jan 2012 00:13:11 GMT

Co-Author: Avdhoot Patil

Phishers often choose baits with the motive of reaching out to a large number of end users. In December, 2011, phishers’ choice of bait were songs from the Indian movie "Bodyguard" (starring Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor). Due to the popularity of the soundtrack, phishers anticipated a large target audience which could improve their chances of harvesting user credentials. This particular phishing site was hosted on a free web hosting site.

The phishing site targeted Facebook and it played a music video from the movie in the bottom left corner of the phishing page. The main content of the phishing page promoted songs as custom graphical "skins" for social networking profiles. The phishing page then encouraged users to enter their social network login credentials, stating that after logging in they could listen to popular songs and enjoy several features. The phishing site also boasted news of being the...

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: "...
Sean Butler | 24 Jan 2012 02:38:43 GMT

Recently, I came across a scam email that is trying to take advantage of the hype surrounding the yet-to-be-released iPad 3. The release date of the iPad 3 is still unknown but spammers are already jumping on the bandwagon in the hope of scamming people who will be eager to get their hands on one of these devices.

The scammers introduce themselves as Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook. The email then states how Facebook have joined up with Apple for a one time promotion – to give away an iPad 3 at no cost. This is, of course, all false information but the scam attempts to entice potential victims by stating how they have been randomly selected from a Facebook database. It is possible that a user could potentially be deceived by this ruse if they receive this email to the email address they have used to register with Facebook.

The user is then asked to click on a link and fill out a survey. The goal of the scammers here is to obtain personal information 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...