Feeds

Spammers jump on Gmail, Hotmail mass-hack gravy train

Like manna from heaven

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

This week's airing of some 30,000 compromised Windows Live and Google Mail accounts has coincided with a spike in spam from those two services that promote sketchy electronics dealers, a researcher said.

Over the past few days, spam promoting fraudulent electronics stores has increased by as much as 40 per cent, according to Patrik Runald, senior manager of security research at Websense. Almost all of it originates from Hotmail or Gmail addresses and most are sent only to contacts in the address book of the compromised account.

Such faux testimonials for online electronics stores have been around for months. The significant increase comes as miscreants have sprayed the web with the user names and passwords for as many as 30,000 webmail accounts. The timing makes Runald think there's a connection between the two.

"The correlation of these lists going into the public domain and a 35 to 40 per cent increase in these types of scams going around on Hotmail and Gmail, its a nice coincidence if nothing else," he told The Reg. "It sounds reasonable to believe they're actually related."

Over the past 24 hours, Websense has tracked more than a half-dozen domains used to peddle MacBooks, Blackberries and other electronics for prices that sound too good to be true. One of the sites, sale-buys.com, for instance, was offering a Toshiba Satellite Pro laptop for $320.

It offered only two payment options: Western Union and a bank transfer. Not surprisingly, several people who fell for the scam and were contacted by Websense reported not receiving merchandise they had paid for. They told Websense they were tricked at least in part because the email appeared to come from someone they knew.

One explanation for the increase in the scam spam is that the people behind it are taking advantage of the fresh infusion of compromised email addresses included in the lists.

"In a way, it's a very old-school type of attack," Runald said. "There are no advanced trojans or anything." ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.