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Spear Phishing E-Mails Attack LinkedIn Members

About 10,000 users of the professional social networking Website LinkedIn.com were recently targeted in a customized scam that asked recipients to download a malicious software.

Journalist Brian Krebs of Washington Post, who was the first to report the news, said that the scam e-mails addressed its recipients by name to add to it an element of authenticity, as reported by SCMagazine on October 9, 2008.

Security specialists state that the e-mails in the campaign were spoofed to appear as if they had come from support@linkedin.com with the subject title, "Re: business contacts".

Furthermore, a part of the message said that the site managed to send a catalogue of business addresses the recipient had requested for. The remaining message then asked the user to click on an attachment providing the catalogue of business contacts. But it installed a malicious program on the system to steal sensitive credentials from the targeted PC, like usernames and passwords.

Security specialists further revealed that spear phishing attackers are aiming at the members of Websites for social networking like LinkedIn as its users are accustomed to getting e-mails from those Websites.

According to David Marcus, Director for Security Research and Communications at McAfee's Avert Labs, the rate of success of spear phishing attacks is considerably higher than the conventional malicious attacks. A lot of people have got a phishing or spam message starting with "Dear banking customer", that they deleted. However, many people have not received e-mail that specifically addressed them, as reported by SCMagazine on October 9, 2008.

Marcus further said that normally, a scammer would try to obtain the information database containing names, e-mail IDs along with other identifying details either by hacking or by purchasing the information database from cyber crime markets. Subsequently, the scammer would utilize that information for crafting an official looking e-mail to send it to his target.

Elucidating the problem, Krista Canfield, Spokesperson of LinkedIn, stated that these e-mails were not distributed through LinkedIn's own network, as reported by Washington Post on October 8, 2008. The site advises users to connect to only people known to them.

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» SPAMfighter News - 10/18/2008

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