Feeds

HMRC data debacle used to bait phishing lure

Poetic justice restricts success of feeble ruse

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

A phishing attack targeting victims of the HMRC data loss debacle has been spotted on the net. The bogus emails offering recipient the false opportunity to claim a tax refund of £215 from the UK Government over the potential exposure of confidential data. The email contains a web link to a suspect site, reports security firm McAfee, which spotted the ruse.

The ploy takes advantage of the loss of computer discs by HM Revenue and Customs containing the confidential details of 25 million child benefit recipients, including bank and building society details, NI numbers, addresses and child records. The attack follows more than two months after UK Chancellor Alistair Darling announced the loss, so arguably fraudsters have been slow off the mark.

McAfee reports that UK email addresses were targeted in the attack. Similar inducements involving tax refunds over data losses and the IRS service in the US have featured as the lure in US-based attacks. In the case of the HMRC phishing attack potential marks were invited to submit confidential data to a server located in Germany, which has since been taken offline.

The security firm advises net users to be wary of further similar attacks.

"This phishing attack has echoes of traditional get rich quick scams, preying on the desire to be compensated for the Government losing their data, but people must learn that there really is no such thing as free money," said Greg Day, McAfee security analyst.

Day notes that the effectiveness of the attack may have been damaged by the HMRC's tarnished reputation for data security. "Recent high profile data loss incidents have left the public more vigilant about handing over information that has any link to HMRC, so this may not be the most thoroughly considered phishing attack," he said. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.