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Google AdWords Phishing E-mails on a Rise

According to the observation of security firm Barracuda Networks Inc., there has been a significant increase in the volume of phishing e-mails purporting as Google AdWords Alert e-mails to users.

The fake e-mail contains a spoof link that apparently appears like the genuine URL of the web page of Google Adwords account - adwords.google.com. However, when the users click the link, they are directed to a China-based website.

Once the users are linked to the bogus site, they are asked to reveal their username and password. They are also urged to update their account details and credit card number so as to prevent their account suspension. The unaware users who provide such information open themselves to the exploitation of their credit cards and authentic Google accounts.

Stephen Pao, Vice President, product Management, Barracuda Networks, stated that the criminals have used very sophisticated technique of social engineering in this phishing attack. Also, the crooks are making use of the Google so that recipients trust the sender, as reported by MarketWatch on November 24, 2008.

Barracuda Central had tracked several thousands of e-mails that were circulating among the customers of Barracuda Spam firewall uptill November 24, 2008. Further, this drive is increasing in amount.

Meanwhile, Barracuda Networks has issued a warning to the Google account holders to be cautious while replying to the unidentified e-mails that include the URL of the sites asking for account details and credit card numbers. According to the security firm, the volume of phishing sites and thereby the number of fake e-mails rose up to 10 times.

Researchers at the security firm alerted the users that the number of phishing e-mails may reach higher levels during the approaching holiday weekend, in view of the increasing sophistication of attacks observed since November 2007.

Moreover, Pao stated that though the Google Adwords phishing drive might not have been targeted at the average users, but in a broader perspective, the scammers are preparing themselves for the coming holiday season. Also, users need to be vigilant while providing their username, credit card and other financial details online.

Related article: Google Rectifies Gmail flaw in Three Days

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