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Email Server Feature: Phishing Campaign Tries to Lure FBI Director


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October 14, 2009

Email Server Feature: Phishing Campaign Tries to Lure FBI Director

By Amy Tierney, TMCnet Web Editor

Email phishing campaigns have become so prevalent, that even the savviest of people are susceptible. Just ask FBI Director Robert Muller.
Earlier this month, Muller, who does his banking online, nearly became a victim to a phishing scam. In a recent speech, Muller said he received an e-mail that “looked perfectly legitimate” purporting to be from his bank. It asked him to verify some information. Muller said he began to follow the instructions when he changed his mind.

Turns out that was a good move. Muller said he was just a few clicks away from falling into a classic Internet phishing scam –spam messages that ask recipients to supply personal information that can lead to identity theft.
“Intruders are reaching into our networks every day, looking for valuable information,” Muller said. “And unfortunately, they are finding it, because many of us are unaware of the threat these persons pose to our privacy, our economic stability, and even our national security.”
“Cyber crime might not seem real until it hits you,” Muller added. “But every personal, academic, corporate, and government network plays a role in national security. And given the extent of the damage cyber attacks can cause, it is important for all of us to protect ourselves, and each other.”

Overall, phishing attacks were down 5 percent in September compared to August, according to Symantec’s (News - Alert) “State of Phishing” report. But the attacks are expected to reappear as the holiday season approaches, the report said.
Phishing attacks are getting more sophisticated, officials from Symantec, a provider of security, storage and systems management solutions, said. For example, the new Michael Jackson song, "This Is It," released earlier this week is the subject of a new spam campaign.
According to the Symantec blog, a 45-second preview of the song leaked onto YouTube (News - Alert) the day before its officials release and spam is circulating trying to trick people into clicking on a link included in the e-mail to listen to the preview.
Cyber hackers are “using a lot more targeted attacks that try to appeal to things that users do all the time,” Patrick Martin, senior manager with Symantec Security Technology and Response, told TMCnet in an interview. “They really have changed the angle of the attacks to things that are going to be a little more pertinent, they hope, to the people who see it.”
“Really, the social engineering techniques have changed,” Martin said. “[Cyber hackers] are hoping the average person will not know what they are looking at. They do it because it works. People click.”
As the number of phishing examples grown, businesses are looking for protection from cyber criminals. Ipswitch, Inc., a developer of business-class messaging applications, for example, said its  Commtouch Recurrent Pattern Detection solution can help, particularly with recurrent email messages.
Commtouch Recurrent Pattern Detection, detects recurrent message patterns in real-time. Users receive immediate protection from new spam and malware outbreaks as they emerge. Commtouch (News - Alert), which is part of Ipswitch’s IMail Server product family, features automated detection so users can communicate with people without encountering the threat of spam.
“Controlling spam is a continuous battle that involves implementing new strategies as quickly as spammers invent new ways to send out spam,” Ipswitch (News - Alert) said.
Ipswitch is offering a free, 30-day evaluation on its Web site. Visitors can also check out a free demo of IMail Server.

Amy Tierney is a Web editor for TMCnet, covering unified communications, telepresence, IP communications industry trends and mobile technologies. To read more of Amy's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Amy Tierney

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