28 Sep A race against the spammers
08 Nov Fake Kaspersky Antivirus
07 Nov Gaddafi’s death in spam
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A few days ago, the latest VBSpam results were published. The testing, conducted by Virus Bulletin in August, saw Kaspersky Linux Mail Security 8.0 detect 99.93% of all the spam messages used in the test. This is a new record for Kaspersky of which we are very proud (if the number of congratulatory emails flying back and forth between us is anything to go by). Eugene Kaspersky also mentioned the result in his blog (http://eugene.kaspersky.com/2012/09/27/kaspersky-server-anti-spam-no-longer-the-underdog-more-top-dog/) – he’s proud of us too :)
Apple fans are eagerly awaiting the arrival of iPhone 5 which is due out today. Each unveiling of an iDevice is accompanied by a global buzz of excitement which usually attracts the attention of spammers: every new iPad or iPhone inevitably becomes the bait in numerous fake lotteries and other fraudulent emails.
However, customers are not only interested in Apple’s devices but also their accessories. This year’s first registered mass mailing dedicated to the new iPhone came from a Chinese company that has decided to fill this niche.
The advertiser, having first apologized for any inconvenience that may be caused by the email, offers users the chance to buy a case for the new iPhone 5 which has not even been officially presented.
Considering the sort of promises that usually appear in spam, one can only wonder why the sender didn’t offer an actual iPhone 5 or, better still, an iPhone 6 (or whatever it’ll be called in 2013? iPhone 5v?).
Over the weekend, someone wrote to us complaining that Kaspersky Lab was sending spam. Naturally, this came as a bit of a surprise, seeing as how we do nothing of the sort; in fact we do quite the reverse: we combat spam. Of course, we wanted to find out why a user had come to the conclusion that Kaspersky Lab was sending spam to them.
The email that the user complained about had all the hallmarks of a typical online scam: behind the nice pictures reminiscent of Kaspersky Lab’s official advertising there was a link that had absolutely nothing in common with the company’s products. The cybercriminals had done a good job: the email not only looked like an official email from Kaspersky Lab but the “From” field was a good imitation as well.
After clicking the link, a user unwittingly ends up on a website with an offer to buy a program called Best Antivirus Online. It has to be said that the image of the “product box” on the web page was not unlike that of Symantec’s signature design – black font against a predominantly yellow background. To buy the program, the user had to enter their credit card details and email address so they could receive further instructions. We followed these step as part of our investigations, but received no more instructions at the email address we specified. It is quite possible that users could have received more instructions on how to download the fake antivirus at the time the spam was active.
This is not the first time cybercriminals have made use of Kaspersky Lab products. We have noticed on several occasions that the distributors of fake antiviruses have tried to make their “product” interfaces similar to those of KIS or KAV. Spammers distributing offers of cheap software often stress in their emails that Kaspersky Lab’s products are available on their sites at bargain prices.
This level of awareness by the cybercriminals is a clear indication that Kaspersky Lab products are popular and trusted. They are taking advantage of users’ trust in Kaspersky Lab as a social engineering tool, hoping that the familiar green design will lull users into a false sense of security and make them click the malicious link.
It should be noted that not only Kaspersky Lab has attracted the attention of malicious users. A week or so ago, we received similar messages that imitated a mailing from Adobe. The link in the message led to a suspicious-looking “pdf reader”. The site’s template was identical to the template used for Best Antivirus Online, only the color scheme was different. In early October, a similar site was linked to emails with offers to download a new version of iTunes dedicated to Steve Jobs. The color scheme then was completely different, but the site template was the same.
At the time the user wrote to us, Kaspersky Lab products detected both the spam messages and the malicious site distributed in them. But we not only urge users to trust our products but to also be vigilant when surfing the net. And remember: no reputable company would send spam messages!
“Nigerian” spammers are extremely quick to react to the world’s hottest news stories. News of the death of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had barely even broken before a string of emails from the “relatives of the deceased” began to appear.
Gaddafi’s inconsolable relatives would be amazed if they knew how many emails had been sent in their name to Internet users around the world.
Instead of joining in the funeral rites, it looks like Gaddaffi’s sons and daughters, or his wife, his brothers or even friends, have rushed straight to their PCs to write to people all over the world asking for help in spiriting uncountable millions of dollars out of the country.
According to the “Nigerians”, the family of the Libyan leader is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The emails which fell into my hands cited a minimum figure of $300 million.
Most of these emails purport to come from “Gaddafi’s wife”. The spammers seem to think their heart-rending stories about her hard life in her husband’s family could explain her sudden desire to share his money with her close friends. Or even with distant strangers, depending on the recipient of the email.
She’s not alone, though: an unlikely coalition of “opposition forces”, “lawyers” and “bank clerks who have access to Gaddafi’s accounts” also share the general desire to transfer the Colonel’s money abroad.
“Nigerian” spam is, of course, pure fraud. None of Gaddafi’s wives or even his lawyers will ever send emails to someone they do not know asking for help in getting millions of dollars out of the country and offering an unknown agent the commission for doing so. If a user takes the bait the fraudsters will extort money from him to allegedly cover different “expenses” until no more money is left. One should be realistic about the many offers received via the Internet from an unverified source calling himself Colonel Gaddafi’s son (ALL OF A SUDDEN!).
Below are the screenshots of several “Nigerian letters” sent on behalf of Gaddafi’s family: