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So Called ‘Friendly’ Phishing Emails Are Being Sent Out In High Numbers

Action Fraud is warning that Fraudsters are turning to ‘kindness’ with new phishing emails which encourage the recipient to open an attachment on the false premise that they could have already fallen victim to scammers.

In the past three days, Action Fraud has received 226 reports from email users who have this email. The phishing email is sent from a fraudster who describes themselves a “law-abiding citizen” and has accidentally received the email recipient’s personal details. Attached to the phishing email is a document which the fraudster claims contains the recipient’s personal details.

The fraudster suggests that the email recipient’s details may have been made available to scammers and they are contacting them to try to rectify the problem. To do so the recipient must open the document.

In reality, the attached document opens the door to malware being downloaded onto the victim’s computer. The malware attempts to obtain sensitive data from victims, such as banking credentials and passwords; this is subsequently used to take money from the victim.

In order to protect yourself from malware, having up-to-date virus protection is essential; however it will not always prevent you from becoming infected.

This is a sample of what the email may look like:

The subject line contains the recipient’s name, and the main body of text is as below:

“Hi, [name]!

I am disturbing you for a very serious reason. Although we are not familiar, but I have significant amount of individual info concerning you. The thing is that, most likely mistakenly, the data of your account has been emailed to me. For instance, your address is:

[real home address]

I am a law-abiding citizen, so I decided to personal data may have been hacked. I attached the file – [surname].dot that I received, that you could explore what info has become obtainable for scammers. File password is – 2811

Best Wishes,”

The emails include an attachment – a ‘.dot’ file usually titled with the recipient’s name.

This attachment is thought to contain the Banking Trojan Ursniff/Gozi, hidden within an image in the document. The Ursniff Banking Trojan attempts to obtain sensitive data from victims, such as banking credentials and passwords.

The data is subsequently used by criminals for monetary gain.

Protect yourself

  • Don’t click on links or open any attachments you receive in unsolicited emails or SMS messages. Remember that fraudsters can ‘spoof’ an email address to make it look like one used by someone you trust. If you are unsure, check the email header to identify the true source of communication.
  • Do not enable macros in downloads, enabling the macro will allow the Trojan/malware to be installed onto your device
  • Always install software updates as soon as they become available. Whether you are updating the operating system or an application, the update will often include fixes for critical security vulnerabilities.
  • Create regular backups of your important files to an external hard drive, memory stick or online storage provider. It’s important that the device you back up to isn’t left connected to your computer as any malware infection could spread to that too.
  • If you think your bank details have been compromised, you should immediately contact your bank.

Cyber Aware is a cross-government campaign, funded by the National Cyber Security Programme. They aim to measurably and significantly improve the online safety behaviour and confidence of consumers and small businesses (SMEs).

Get Safe Online is the UK’s leading source of factual and easy-to-understand information on online safety. Their website offers advice on how you can protect yourself, your computers and devices, and your business against the likes of fraud, identity theft, viruses and other potential online problems

 

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