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Is that a failed Outlook security update in your pocket or are you pleased to phish me?

New scam exploits Microsoft's latest Patch Tuesday confusion

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Web criminals have fired off Patch Tuesday-themed phishing emails to trick confused users into handing over their login details.

Their messages attempt to convince users into visiting a website masquerading as a Microsoft Exchange system, which tries to coax visitors into handing over their email accounts' address and password. Marks are told they must provide the details to get an installer package supposedly needed after a failed Outlook security update.

The phishing text reads:

Windows Installer package update is required to automatically eliminate obsolete patches in your sequence of patches as a report on our server indicates an error code (0x700) as a result of a failed update Every installer sequence patch is being linked to an email account. Fill in the error code and other details to automatically fix this error.

The link is, of course, entirely bogus. It doesn't even follow to an encrypted server. And Microsoft never delivers its security updates via email precisely in order to make this sort of subterfuge stand out.

In the scam, victims are asked to submit an "error code" as well as their email account access credentials, a nice touch that elevates the whole con from entirely implausible to "WTF, you'd have to be daft to fall for this".

Last month some Microsoft updates were reissued after there were problems installing the software, and as net security firm Sophos notes, crooks may be seeking to exploit any confusion this may have caused.

This week's phishing email was capture by Sophos' spam filters. A blog post by the security biz, featuring screenshots of these emails as well as the bogus Exchange web server, can be found here.

The ultimate aim of the crooks behind the scam is unclear. However, compromised email accounts can be used to put together more plausible phishing attacks against their friends and colleagues, breaking into social networks and other web accounts, or for malware distribution among other malign tricks. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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