Phish poses as Sophos malware alert

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Aug 20, 2007

Fake security alarm lures users to spoofed site.

A phishing email recently spammed out uses the name of security firm Sophos to lend credence to a fake malware alert, designed to trick readers into visiting a spoof site and handing over sensitive login details.

The email, claiming to originate from financial services giant Merrill Lynch, discusses a warning from Sophos about a trojan attack, referring to malware hidden in Shockwave cartoons which was in fact alerted on by Sophos almost two months ago. It advises customers to log into their accounts so that a service can detect any infection. The link provided leads to a server based in Russia, where user IDs and account details are harvested.

'Malware posing as warnings about malware is a common social-engineering technique,' said John Hawes, Technical Consultant at Virus Bulletin. 'Relying on fear to bypass people's caution responses is almost as common as other lures like sex and greed. Sophos' corporate focus may give its name added weight to customers of Merrill Lynch, but the odd grammar used in the email should make it obvious to recipients that the message is a fake, and hopefully people are starting to learn that following links in emails and handing over important login data is a bad move.'

Details and commentary on the latest scam, from Mary Landesman at, are here.

Posted on 20 August 2007 by Virus Bulletin



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