Hacked e-mail accounts used in 419 scam "with a twist"

E-mail accounts of unsuspecting users are being infiltrated by hackers who then send "419-type" e-mails to contacts in the address book of the captured account.

At first blush it seems like a typical 419 (or Nigerian letter) scam - the standard e-mail directing the intended victim to do certain things that supposedly result in a huge payoff to the latter.

But there's one key difference: many such messages are now being sent to the personal contacts list of unsuspecting users whose Web e-mail accounts have been hacked.

Global spam categories over past 30 days:
  • Products 22%

  • Financial 19%

  • Internet 18%

  • Health 17%

  • Scams 8%

  • Fraud 6%

  • Leisure 5%

  • Adult 5%

Welcome to the 419 scam with a twist, documented by the July 2008 monthly 'The State of Spam' report put out by security company US-based Symantec.

Symantec's latest report cites an actual case to illustrate the modus operandi.

The user's Web mail account was hacked and the rogue 419 email was sent to his personal contacts.

"Friends and colleagues received the request for assistance and were urged to respond via e-mail only," the Symantec report says. "As the hacker took over the user's account, the real owner would not have known about the e-mail, if recipients fell for the scam."

To make the message appear more authentic, the account owner's auto-signature was appended at the end of the message.

In this particular case, the scam did not end there.

According to the Symantec report, after capturing the e-mail account, the hacker got the owner's online auction site password e-mailed to the account.

"The hacker then began bidding on a number of laptops being sold in the UK and instructed that the laptops be sent to Nigeria."

This scam was not isolated to one particular Web mail provider or organization, the report noted.

Bogus "account expiry notifications" are commonly used by cyber crooks to gain e-mail account information and then take over these accounts, the study suggests.

It urges users to be wary of such notifications and not "provide their account details unwittingly to a third party."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joaquim P. Menezes

ITBusiness.ca
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?