New phishing attack against Facebook business pages

There’s a new attempt at an old phishing attack running on Facebook today.  The attack appears to target business pages on Facebook by posing as a Facebook compliance message.  Here’s a screenshot of the attack, which we received in our notifications panel on Facebook: The message appears to be a Facebook compliance message, because it uses the Facebook logo and name.  It also appears to be a direct message due to the use of “Dear Customer” in the greeting.  However there are a few things that should stand out to you as suspicious: It uses the ow.ly URL shortener and not a proper Facebook URL. It uses threatening language indicating extreme action. The message itself is nonsense.  It begins by saying that there are irregularities of content and a violation of ToS.  Then it requires you to verify your contact information, and thanks you for helping them improve ‘service collaboration.’ It is a notification and not a message.  Facebook notifications indicate shares or mentions by another user.  These are not direct messages to a customer, and normally do not include any type of greeting like “Dear Customer.” This is what you will see if you hover your cursor over the account link:   This URL is another indication that this is likely not an official Facebook communication.  If you were to follow the link to this account, you would see that this attack has targeted hundreds of business pages on Facebook. This attack page was taken offline earlier today, but there may be more versions of this page still functioning. The attack is structured as follows: The attacker identifies the business page. The attacker then shares the latest post from the business page. The share is prefaced by the message that you see in our screenshot at the top of this post. The body of the message includes a shortened link designed to look like a Facebook account verification link. These indicators should be enough for you to recognize this as a scam and...

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IRS related scams are not all the same

Barracuda Central is detecting a variety of tax-related phishing emails.  These emails are designed to look like official communications from the IRS or similar tax revenue entities outside of the US.  Most of the emails we have detected include links in the body of the message.  These links are designed to phish for the victim’s info or to install malicious content on the victim’s computer.  All of these emails have the same agenda of tricking people into clicking on the malicious links. (Click here to see a larger version of this image)     Some of these emails claim to be automated notification messages sent from the IRS. These emails ask the recipient to update a W2 profile with a “new W2 E-Data Form”. Some of these messages are also claiming that if this is not done within 48 hours, a refund will be delayed or not paid. Other similar IRS phishing emails have an attached HTML form. This form prompts the recipient to input personal information such as: social security number, Date of Birth, home address and Employer info and etc. If this form is submitted, the victim is directed to a different site, and all personal information that was just entered is now stored for a spammer to use.   Another variant has the subject “Pending Tax Refund”. This variant attempts to trick the recipient into clicking on the link that claims there is an outstanding tax refund from an overpayment in a prior year.  These messages are coming from an .UK domain, and are posing as official communications from HM Revenue & customs.  This is the department of the UK Government that is responsible for the collection of taxes. The government already knows about this issue and has created a site to inform people about this scam: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/gds/payerti/forms-updates/forms-publications/register.htm     The above variant poses as a message from the “Canada Revenue Agency”. The email has a link to a site that asks the victim to transfer money electronically, so that the sender...

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Super Bowl Presents Super Opportunity for Spammers

It’s no secret that highly-anticipated events like the Super Bowl generate buzz around everything from commercials to merchandise, allowing opportunistic businesses to capitalize on the millions of eyes viewing from around the globe. However, what many folks fail to recognize is the opportunity events like the Super Bowl also create for scammers to generate disingenuous websites and emails to trap people into paying for items they will never see. This year is shaping up to be no different as proven by Barracuda Labs, which has already detected spam for replica jerseys on sale for the 2016 Super Bowl teams via sites such as pantherssuperbowlshop-dot-com and broncossuperbowlshop-dot-com. Fake Panther Super Bowl site   Fake Broncos Super Bowl site Click here for a larger image of both sites. In this particular instance, spam emails from the above sites claim to have replica jerseys on sale, but the links unfortunately lead to false websites. These false websites then ask people to pay for replica jerseys without a secure payment option, and request credit card information for fraudulent purposes. Ultimately, these sites are scamming people out of money by pretending to sell items that they will never ship and even go so far as to claim the items ordered are “Out Of Stock” after payment was already received. How to tell it’s a scam: Based on what we’ve seen in these scam messages, the domains are targeted attacks focused on fans of the 2016 NFL Super Bowl teams (Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos). The domains used here were registered on December 15, 2015, which was right around week 15 of 17 for the NFL – two games before the playoffs started. Our research shows that the registration information points to the spam coming from: tian xiang da sha,405#,wan he lu 99hao,Chengdu,China. Both of the sites request buyers to input personal information including, name, address, credit card info etc. However, once they try to access their cart at the time of purchase –it doesn’t allow them to purchase as...

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The Big Business of Spam: Open Enrollment Signals Open Season for Spammers

Spam is big business all year long, and it never goes out of season.  Unfortunately, spammers do kick things into high gear during the fall.  This is when people are buying gifts, thinking about how to get money to buy gifts, or opening holiday E-Cards that aren’t really from friendly people.  Spam tends to increase during this time, just because there’s more opportunity when people are in the holiday spirit. Fall is also the time of year when insurance companies allow businesses and individuals to adjust their health and life insurance coverage.  This is known as Open Enrollment, and spammers come out in force to try to take advantage of this well-known event. Barracuda Central, our 24×7 advanced security operations center, has detected an increase in health and life insurance spam over the last few weeks.  We have picked up several hundred examples of these emails since October. These particular spam messages use names of real insurance companies, such as AIG, Fidelity Life Insurance, and Medicare.  The messages have generic subject lines such as “Open Enrollment is here!” and “Now is the time to change your plan.” See Figure 1 for example. Figure 1These messages are particularly crafty and made to look as real as possible. Not only are the spammers using legitimate names of health and life insurance companies, they are also using images and wording that is close, and sometimes almost identical to the real advertisements from these entities. These “insurance” emails try their best to look convincing and lure the recipient to open them by promising a free quote for insurance plans (Figure 2). Some emails are so convincing, going so far as to even use the company name in the sending domain (Figure 3). Figure 2  Figure 3If the email is convincing enough and the recipient clicks on the false “free quote” link, they will notice their internet browser redirects a few times to sites that never fully load, the redirecting of the browser sometimes happens so rapidly that it...

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The Big Business of Spam: Online Dating Requests Through Email – Not So Fast

Meeting people online has never been easier, unfortunately for some people, falling for that perfect connection may not be the only thing they are falling for these days. Online dating scams are quickly becoming a likely possibility due to the giant audience attracted to online dating sites. It’s no secret that scammers target large audiences, and according to an article published on Match.com, there are currently over 40 million people trying to meet that special someone online. So, how can users avoid falling victim to an online dating scam without dumping the scene all together? One way is to remain aware that any email you receive regardless of the topic – could be a scam in disguise. For example, through Barracuda Central, the Barracuda Labs team recently flagged and dissected a series of factious emails from scammers attempting to impersonate a missed connection from a dating site. These scams are banking on the potential that the recipient has an online dating account in order to bait them into replying to an offsite message. This particular email scam suggests that the recipient email them directly so they can get to know each other, which is simply a tactic used in order to bypass spam filters. Here is one of the messages we came across: As you can see, this particular message is written poorly which should always raise a red flag, and if the recipient takes action and replies, the scammer’s sob story quickly follows in hopes to earn the trust of the victim. Eventually these communications will lead to a request for the victim to wire money, which will be withdrawn from their bank account immediately and into an offshore account – where a refund is far from likely. Not only will your wallet be empty, your heart may be broken along with it, and you’ll be well on your way to a number one hit on the county music charts. Not your idea of a good time? Fortunately, it might actually be easier...

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The Big Business of Spam: Adulterers beware, scammers may be targeting you

As you have probably heard by now, a group of hackers who call themselves The Impact Team recently breached the systems of Avid Life Media (ALM), and stole sensitive data from AshleyMadison.com. The group has since published a large cache of data that includes personal information from members of the site, and are making that data available online for download. To make the situation worse, opportunistic scammers are looking to capitalize on this unique opportunity for a financial gain of their own. To start, the scammers will send phishing emails suggesting that they have information on the recipient that will expose them as an AshleyMadison user. The scam methods they’re using are quite simple and common, yet highly effective when used as a scare tactic like this. Spammers often buy full lists of verified addresses (email addresses in this case) after a large breach, then target and attempt to solicit the users. Here’s how this particular scam works: An unsuspecting user will get an email titled – “Recent data leak, your details are there!” (image below) Once the user opens the email, they will see a note that implies that their personal information has been leaked along with the other 37 million people. At the end of the note, they are directed to click on a link that will direct them to a page that offers services from UnTraceMe. From there, they are directed to pay a fee of $19.95 to get their information secured and removed. (image below) After a spooked user agrees to pay the fee and clicks on the link provided, they are then directed to use a PayPal-like site to pay the fee and “secure their information.” (image below) What folks don’t know is that the leaked data can be retrieved by just about anyone, and will not disappear no matter what ransom is paid. At this time, Barracuda Labs has blocked over 1000 emails similar to the one imaged above, and depending on the monetary success that the spammers...

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