Phishing and Not Fishing

This is an article obtained from another website. While not my own, it is worthy of publishing.

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Hundreds of thousands of people received “phishing” emails that appeared to be from the large domain name registrar Godaddy. The email looks like this:

From: GoDaddy [mailto:admin@mya2.godaddy.com]
Subject: Status Alert: Code:306690

From: GoDaddy [mailto:admin@mya2.godaddy.com]
Subject: Status Alert: Code:306690
Dear Valued GoDaddy Customer.

Your account contains more than 4969 directories and may pose a potential performance risk to the server. Please reduce the number of directories for your account to prevent possible account deactivation.

In order to prevent your account from being locked out we recommend that you create special tmp directory.

Or use the link below:

https://www.godaddy.com/make.aspx?user=b2b7c555125ecacf4bb7678d9dc39a21

Sincerely,

GoDaddy technical support.
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Copyright (C) 1999-2014 GoDaddy.com, LLC. All rights reserved.

Though it is official looking, clicking that link might cause you some problems. It did our client, though we were able to quickly sort them out because of our monitoring system. That link goes to an official looking phishing page. The link in the email, despite its anchor text, points to a phishing page designed to look like GoDaddy’s login page. The page is hosted on SKM-DIGITAL.RU.

Moral of the story: Do NOT click any links in e-mails that you are not 100 percent about. Ever.

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Question: How do we protect ourselves from Phishing? Perhaps a bigger question: What is Phishing? Wikipedia defines it as “an attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.”

Here are some tips to protect yourself:

  1. Learn how to spot phishing emails. Most have poor wording in broken English, usually due to the fact it may have originated from another country and the translation does not work properly. Look for other obvious errors. In addition, look carefully at the sender’s email and look where the “link” is directed. For example, if the email is from a USA bank and the link is directed to “xxx.bank.ru”, where “ru” at the end is the country code for Russia, then something is wrong. Also, always remember to use “common sense”. A company, bank, Gov. Agency, etc., will never ask for your personal information via email.
  2. Upgrade your security program. Most now have the ability to monitoring for phishing.
  3. Implement a web filtering program that can block malicious websites.
  4. Never open any attachments. Never open any of the “links” either.
  5. Trust, but verify. If you do not know, then call the company. I received an email supposedly from American Express recently that almost fooled me. I called American Express and they verified it was not legit. One other email that caught many of our clients was supposedly from UPS or Fedex. It was a short two sentence email, poorly worded, that suggest UPS had failed to deliver a package. The email did not have any graphics. If UPS had sent it, it would have had their logo, tracking number, sender information, order numbers, etc.

Remember, if it’s “phishing”, don’t take the bait. If it is “fishing”, don’t forget the bait…otherwise you may not catch any real fish.

Hope that helps.

Best regards.

Krume