Feeds

Spammers jump on Gmail, Hotmail mass-hack gravy train

Like manna from heaven

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

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." ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
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

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
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.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
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.