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Webmasters targeted in cPanel look-alike phish

Wanted: FTP credentials

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Fraudsters are targeting webmasters in a massive phishing campaign that attempts to trick marks into giving up credentials needed to administer their sites.

The emails are sent to customers of some of the world's most widely used webhosts, including GoDaddy, Hostgator, Yahoo!, and 50Webs. Although the subject lines vary, they all purport to come from the hosting service. In all, admins from at least 90 different webhosts are being targeted.

"Due to the system maintenance, we kindly ask you to take a few minutes to confirm your FTP details," the emails state.

Those who take the bait are led to a website formatted to look like a page from cPanel, the widely used website administration program. Once a website's address and FTP credentials are entered, users are directed to their host's login page.

Over the past year, scammers have increasingly targeted administrators of legitimate websites. According to a review in the third quarter of this year by security firm Dasient, 5.8 million pages from 640,000 websites were infected with code designed to launch malware attacks on visitors. ScanSafe, a separate security firm, has been tracking a single infection known as Gumblar that's taken over at least 2,000 websites by stealing their administrator credentials.

The latest phishing campaign was uncovered by Gary Warner, the director of research in computer forensics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. It's unclear if it has any relation to Gumblar or what exactly happens to a site whose admin has fallen for the scam. His report is here. ®

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