Spear Phishers Dump Tax Notices on Executives

Computer security provider McAfee reported that several telephone calls are coming to the US Tax Court regarding e-mail that purported to be from this Court. McAfee's researchers and the US government warned on May 23, 2008 that the message is supposedly from someone belonging to the practitioner bar of the Tax Court.

According to the US government, the incident is one of "Spear Phishing" in which a spoofed e-mail is sent out to a particular organization. Usually, the attacks target the top-level executives.

According to Researcher Kevin McGhee at McAfee, the e-mail has been designed to appear like the Tax Court's petition form and sounds almost convincing. The message also has a valid telephone number of the company and the name of one of the executives is mentioned as the defendant in a tax-related case opposite the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, says McGhee. ComputerWorld published McGhee's statement on May 23, 2008.

However, according to the federal agency, the Tax Court is not distributing any notice via e-mail to anybody who might be having a case running. Therefore, recipients of the e-mail showing the subject line, "US Tax Petition" or "Notice of Deficiency #" should ignore or delete the message and not click any link given in it. This is because anyone who clicks the link is taken to a counterfeit Tax Court site where he is asked to improve on his copy of the Internet Explorer browser from Microsoft. The fraud case makes a string manipulation whereby a dash is added to the real site's actual domain name. This easily convinces the unwary user who thinks the fake site is authentic and so might go for the link.

But clicking the given IE update link results in downloading and installation of malware containing a keylogger which intercepts usernames and passwords punched on the keyboard and then forwards those details to a remotely-located identity thief.

But nor such targeted phishing attacks to steal personal identities neither the attacks that feign to be legal correspondences from the US Internal Revenue or the federal courts have not been observed for the first time.

Related article: Spyware Detection Programs Track Advertisers’ Cookies

» SPAMfighter News - 04-06-2008

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