In the last few hours, PandaLabs has detected email messages which, claiming to inform users about an attack on online banking services on November 9, advise them to visit a security web page. However, the content on this page is directed at criticizing the political situation in the United States.
The message subject is aimed at users of online banking services, while the text body includes the message mentioned above along with a link to a web page. The message has been crudely put together. In fact, to redirect users to the political web page it uses simple HTML code to link to the URL of the supposed security page. This means that if the message is received in plain text, the ploy is easily discovered.
This attack coincides with the mid-term elections in the United States and at first sight it would seem like an attempt to interfere with the results. However, according to Luis Corrons, Director of PandaLabs, “Really, this attack is not just poor from a technical point of view, it hasn't even arrived on time. In fact, the first messages detected practically coincided with the closing of polls. What is worrying, however, is that it is a politically-motivated attempt to manipulate voters. We don't know what the consequences of this kind of attack could be if it were carried out at the right time using more sophisticated tactics, but it is something that should not be taken too lightly.”
Internet criminals, it would seem, are using spam as a dynamic tool which can adapt to a multitude of goals: phishing attacks to obtain confidential data for online fraud; boosting stock value, or enlisting new ‘mules’ for laundering money stolen online.
“Spam is evolving rapidly in line with the needs of cyber-crooks. Whereas some years ago junk mail was used primarily saturating users’ mailboxes with advertising, now it is used for more direct benefits, either easy money or, in this case, politically manipulating users. In any event, the simple advice is to ignore the content of this type of message,” explains Luis Corrons.
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