Malware

Poll: When did you experience your last phishing attack?

Do you find that phishing bait is being dangled in front of you more often lately?

My older brother has taken a fancy to Saturday morning fishing shows on some sports channel way up the dial. While he dreams of a vacation in the Florida Keys catching Sun fish, I roll my eyes and sigh deeply wishing desperately to change the channel.

That sigh and feeling of desperation is just about the same feeling I get from seeing a phishing email - I really just want it to go away. But, unfortunately, the number of phishing emails I have been receiving recently seems to be on the increase. Even more troubling, is that the quality of the phishing ploys has become much more sophisticated. To a more trusting eye, these phishing emails have just enough legitimacy to make them clickable - a very dangerous development.

Sponsors

And, if that was not bad enough for you, now Ed Bott is reporting that Google is notifying Gmail users when it suspects users may have be subjected to a state-sponsored attack. Not only do we have to worry about someone trying to bilk us out a few bucks, but we also have to be wary of a foreign government trying to infiltrate our security systems for reasons undetermined.

To further exacerbate the problem, there is now evidence that a recent spate of password leaks has given malefactors a catalyst for more phishing attacks. Helen A.S. Popkin over on Technolog explains how some potential scammers are using the leaked passwords news as the basis for a ploy to get users to confirm their passwords are still valid by entering their passwords into a bogus website.

The Internet is a tough place to work and play.

Your experience

So what has been your experience with phishing attacks recently? Have you noticed more phishing emails coming through on your Google Apps Gmail account or are the filters still doing a good job in that regard?

What have you been telling users in your organization about phishing emails? Are you taking a proactive approach to the problem or do you prefer to put out fires as they come up?

Also read:

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

20 comments
JamesRL
JamesRL

Just Monday I got an email advising me my amazon order for Body Fat calipers was processed, and here was my shipment tracking number. I hovered my mouse over the links, they were all the same. I knew it was a scam since I haven't ordered anything from Amazon in a long time.

rocketmouse
rocketmouse

I got an email from TechRepublic (!) with a double .com return address. Nothing else seemed amiss, except that the newsletter I had supposedly unsubscribed from didn't seem to exist but was indeed something I would be interested in. I wrote an email to them (without the double .com) and asked about it, but haven't heard back yet. In keeping with the post about UPS, DHL, Western Union, etc. being "required" to protect their name(s), shouldn't TechRepublic do the same? And, if the email I received was indeed legit, shouldn't they at the very least NOT send emails with a double dot-com in the address?

w_maertens
w_maertens

Companies like UPS, DHL, Western Union,etc. SHOULD Protect their name! and Companies, and NOT we as Pc Users, who are becomming "SO CALLED ..MULTIMILIONAIRES" by receiving emails with Tracking numbers or whatever.."Promises". I am Declared >67 % invalid , NOT Funny at all to Receive THAT Kind of Spam. THERE IS A HOLE IN MY POCKET ... Was the name of the Song... Well ,There is a BIG hole in Those Companies their "DATA POCKET". EVEN Very known BANKS, are ALSO Victim of SPAMMERS,....So THAT means , Those BANKS are NOT Protected eighter ! DO SOMETHING PLEASE ! ... Or in a while they can shut the door of their Business, if this is going on .... Those Companies are Losing Clients by those Spammers EVERY SINGLE DAY! I Will NOT use one of those Companies ANYMORE, MY trust in them IS GONE FOREVER ! Companies Like Microsoft INVENT Anything,... except Something Against Spammers, and Other Companies are Just doing The same,.... Almost NO protection....Otherwhise SPAMMERS would not be able to get in the Database of those Institutions. Anyhow ...Good Luck ! Oh .... Perhaps JUSTICE can do Something and Put the Spammers in JAIL, Where they belong. W.M.

Mary1010
Mary1010

I learned from some colleagues not to follow links in an email claiming to be from my bank. Banking institutions never ask you to verify your online banking username and password, except perhaps during initial sign-up, though this is not a common practice.

andrew232006
andrew232006

I often receive spam emails addressed to a completely different email address. Can anyone tell me how this works?

sysop-dr
sysop-dr

Anything I am not expecting and doesn't immediately set off warning bells I always check the headers for the first (the lowest in the list) received from line. Amazing how many times an email supposedly from say a bank is sent from Russia or Brazil or some other place. yes headers can be spoofed but they almost never are so is a good way to so a sanity check on incoming email. For instance this supposed email from the UN had this in the headers: - Received: from mail.oblpo.ru (unknown [77.106.20.158]) A quick check on the internet showed a high amount of spam and phishing emails from this domain at the time. Or an email supposedly from the GAO (the who?): - Received: from host69-53-151-27.birch.net (HELO User) (bachir@bachir.com.br@69.53.151.27) Yeah the US government doesn't send email from Brazil. I hope this helps,

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Most of them are easily ignored because I don't do business with the company the email is allegedly from. Of the rest, most of them that purport to be from anybody I do business with are easy to detect because they are sent to the wrong email address. There are a very few that I have to take a second look, and those are detectable because of the multiple recipient addresses.

Who Am I Really
Who Am I Really

never been phished for personal info in my entire life only ever received one "real" SPAM on my Gmail

Regulus
Regulus

I'm using Earthlink & Gmail boxes along with Vipre Internet Security. I can't even remember the last time that anything really bothersome got through. Just checked my Gmail Spam bucket and there was about 274 items there since 29 May. I normally don't even bother looking in there as they seem to take very good care of it. I've always been very pleased with Earthlink also. Security Paranoia can be very healthy.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

they have my number down as one that wastes their time. The last time I had one of those "I'm ringing from Microsoft tech department.." attacks I kept the silly bugger on the phone line messing him around for nearly half an hours. It's fun to mess with their heads and they accept you don't understand if you get the right non English accent into your voice and sound like you're technically challenged. Edit to add - My mail filters do an excellent job and none of them get through, neither does most of the spam - I see about one spam a month now.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

So they are easily picked up but last week I got one supposedly from the USPS the same day as a Item was posted to me from the States. That was a nasty one as it was just possible however unlikely that it was real. The problem I have with these attempts is just how real they look. I had one from a bank I work for recently and if I didn't know that the bank didn't send rubbish like that out I can easily understand why so many get caught up by these attempts. Now if I had not of been receiving USPS offers for a week previously I just may have clicked on that attachment. Col

bboyd
bboyd

Seems like they are trying to rebuild.

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

All of my email addresses have been receiving more attempts. I don't fall for them, since many of the supposed notices are services I don't use with the targeted email address, I can see how the less diligent internet user would click on the links.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Have you noticed more phishing emails coming through on your Google Apps Gmail account or are the filters still doing a good job in that regard?

JamesRL
JamesRL

These companies have a big investment in not being used by spammers, but it is impossible to stop a criminal before the act has been committed. They are victims like the individuals that fall for it. My bank sends out notices on a regular basis tell its customers that it will never ask for an ID or password, account number etc. by email, and that anyone who does is a criminal. That is all they can do is educate their customers. The spammers don't necessarily break into any of these institutions. They just random target and hope that some hit. In Canada we have far fewer banks, and I'd still get phishing attempts regarding banks I've never done business with, or even US banks that don't do retail business in Canada.

bboyd
bboyd

Like my weak attempt at humor... That aside, a lot more people on this end of the pond at risk for USPS phishing. and IRS.Gov was very big all spring

mightyjak
mightyjak

In many cases, a theft has already occured before the phisher gets a "bite". Sometimes they will use a company's legitimate email as a template, rewriting the text and link targets, but leaving the image sources. The result is a little bit of the real company's bandwidth being stolen every time someone opens one of the phishing emails (unless the user blocks images and html from unknown senders), and the company is inadvertently helping to make the phishing email look like a legitimate email. I've seen eBay, Wells-Fargo, and others taken advantage of this way.

Who Am I Really
Who Am I Really

it was a bogus UPS delivery tracking number scam / malware etc. don't know exactly because I never opened it but did check the tracking number on the UPS site because I did get a box from UPS the same day the UPS tracking system said the number didn't exist (gee I wonder why)

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