Beware the phisher’s revenge

By | March 26, 2004

Australian Daniel McNamara, who runs the hugely informative anti-phishing website Code Fish Spam Watch says he was today the victim of an attack on his website and his character, by a phishing email.

The email, spammed all around, pretends to be from him and says,  Dear Online Banking User, You should be heard about such called interned scam, also called phishing – the activity, aimed to stole your personal details. Possibly you already seen letters, asking you to verify your personal bank account details, reactivate it, or to stop illegal payment…

It then goes on to say more information can be found at his website of that of the Australian Federal Police. Of course the links don’t go there, they go to a website that, for IE users, downloads a trojan, which (probably) installs a program to log keystrokes and mail passwords back to the originator.

The phishing email not only seeks to implicate Daniel by delivering a trojan with his name in the email, it also overloads his servers. Since the email spoofs his email as the return address, those emails that do not reach their destination bounce back to his inbox. He says he has had to turn off his email server because of the traffic.

Daniel has been at the forefront of recording and investigating the phishing phenomenon, and has clearly attracted the ire of those involved. He tells me he believes it’s the same people who left a hidden message in a recent phishing email directed at Westpac; the message implied somehow Daniel and Codefish were involved in the scam. Daniel believes he “really managed to nark them.”

This kind of thing shows that one guy like Daniel can make a difference, simply by cataloging phishing attacks, since he’s provoked their authors into what appears to be a somewhat inept attempt at revenge. It’s a shame more people aren’t doing this kind of sleuth work.

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