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News

Chat invitations being used to lure financial crime victims

Sophos : 23 June, 2009  (Technical Article)
Sophos is warning of the latest trend in phishing designed to lure spam recipients into chat sessions ultimately ending in redirect to phishing site
IT security and control firm has discovered an unusual spam campaign which tries to lure recipients to engage in a flirtatious MSN chat, before ultimately redirecting them to an adult website.

According to Sophos, this technique could be used more in the future as spammers attempt to avoid spam filters and trick unsuspecting users into revealing sensitive and financial information.

The unsolicited emails, intercepted by SophosLabs in its global network of spam traps, use a variety of email addresses and minor randomisation of content. Users who decide to take up the offer and chat with their mystery admirer over MSN, will be quickly asked to sign up to a website in order to see the supposed sender's webcam, and engaged in a scripted IM chat, pretending to be from a woman who has just started doing webcam shows from her home.

After some banter, the 'woman' (who is in fact a computer program, pretending to be human) says that she has some free passes to view her on a webcam website. In reality, the website being linked to by the online seducer was registered anonymously in May 2009, and belongs to ClickCash.com, an affiliate network promoting adult websites. Sophos warns that when the website asks for user details and credit card information to guarantee the user is over 18 years old, the data could easily be used to commit identity theft.

'Talking to strangers can be dangerous on the net, but many people do it. So it's actually quite likely that this scam could be successful,' said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. 'Engaging victims in playful and flirtatious chat like this is a sure fire way to hook people in and entice them to part with sensitive information. All computer users need to be wary of unsolicited emails, no matter whether or not they seem like harmless fun - if you don't know the person who sent you the message, it's possible that they're after your money and your identity.'
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