Phishing e-mails from Co-Operative Bank?

Over the last few days, we have seen a large volume of e-mails proclaiming to be from the Co-Operative Bank. They are asking their customers to confirm their banking details for a whole variety of reasons, most recently stating that there is a transfer pending which they are unable to receive until the user confirms their details by clicking on a link within the e-mail message.

To begin with, these e-mails came from a relatively believable address -  co-operative-system.coop-uk.co.uk – but then subsequent e-mails have arrived from - co-operativebank.co.uk – which is the legitimate domain for the bank.

These emails are 100% fraudulent, they are solely designed to trick the recipient into handing over sensitive banking details.
The fraudsters are then able to gain access to your online banking information.

 

If you receive one of these emails, do not respond in any way. Just delete the messages.
Banks do not contact their customers for personal account details via e-mail. If in doubt, call the bank to enquire about your account directly.

For a full technical analysis see below;

 

 

The initial giveaway that this is a fraudulent e-mail is if you examine the link you are being requested to click on. It claims to take you to the Co-Operative Bank’s website, instead, it takes you to http://beirutdiscounts.com which has been hijacked, but thankfully, as of this morning, displays an error message rather than capturing people’s details.

The e-mail originates from the IP address 122.62.112.4 which is located in New Zealand and I highly doubt therefore authorized to send messages on behalf of the Co-Operative Bank;

 

inetnum:        122.62.0.0 - 122.62.255.255

netname:        PLV-TELECOM-NZ

descr:          Telecom New Zealand Ltd

country:        NZ

admin-c:        IA42-AP

tech-c:         IA42-AP

notify:         nic@netgate.net.nz

mnt-by:         NZTELECOM

changed:        dbk1@netgate.net.nz 20090826

status:         ASSIGNED NON-PORTABLE

source:         APNIC

 

The most concerning factor of these phishing e-mails is that they claim to be from a legitimate Co-Operative Bank domain. But if we look at the Co-Operative Bank’s sender Policy Framework* (SPF) records then we get the following;

v=spf1 mx:cfs.co.uk a:apps.co-operativebank.co.uk a:applications.co-operativebank.co.uk include:foretelsystems.com –all

The final section tells the SPF checking to look for SPF records for fortelsystems.com and include those in the search. However, unfortunately, at this time, this domain has no SPF records. This means the verification of the Co-Operative Bank’s email’s security fails.
This is what has allowed the fraudsters to send these e-mails from their own domain.

What a sobering thought. A high street bank has failed in its duty to protect its customers.
A simple mistake to make, but it comes with serious consequences for its trusting customers.

 

*Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is a validation system for e-mail. It is able to detect fraudulent e-mails and checks that incoming messages are arriving from a valid domain authorized by that domain’s administrators.

Police Warn of Malware Bearing Their Name

A number of users have reported a new scam whereby their screen locks up and a message is show saying the computer has been locked by the police.  This is a scam and under no circumstances should you use the contact details on the screen.

With up to do windows updates and anti-virus software this issue should not arrise and can be dealt with by us very easily.  Call us on 0845 805 4870 if you encounter this issue.

The full message from the Police is shown below;

 

Police have asked computer users in Nottinghamshire to be on their guard after a number of suspected internet frauds were reported to the force.


Nottinghamshire Police have received a number of calls in relation to an internet scam where members of the public receive an online pop-up message claiming to be from Strathclyde Police or the Metropolitan Police.


The message states that the individual's computer has been locked by police, and that they will need to call a given number or pay a fine online for viewing inappropriate or illegal content online.


The computer screen locks in most cases.


Samantha Hancock, of Nottinghamshire Police’s Pre-Crime Unit, said: “Various police forces across the UK have informed the public that this is an internet scam and has absolutely nothing to do with them.


“The police would like to make it clear that they would never ask the public for money under such circumstances and urge anyone who receives the pop-up to not to follow the payment instructions or call the number given.


“They should definitely not pay any money or divulge personal details.”


Action Fraud and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau are aware of the scam and are in the process of updating their websites with the correct information.
If you receive such a message on your computer, rest assured that no one has discovered any illegal material on your system. 


Removal of the virus needs to be done with care using the operating system’s ‘Safe Mode’ as an incorrect removal could easily lead to your computer becoming unusable and all your data and files being lost. 


If you do not have specialised knowledge in this area, you are advised to seek professional advice in unlocking the computer and removing any associated virus.
In a separate scam reported in the county, a man paid £260 to secure a £1,500 loan after receiving an unsolicited telephone call from a company who knew he had been researching loans on the internet.


He never received the loan, and was verbally abused when he rang the company to enquire about it.


In several other cases, PC owners have been contacted by callers claiming to represent software companies, including Microsoft.
The callers have offered to install security packages on the computer and have been able to access the computer remotely. 


The packages were installed, but it is not clear whether they are genuine packages or ‘trojans’ – computer programmes which contain viruses or damaging malware.


In all three cases, the computer owner was asked to make payment at shops with a Paypoint or Ukash facility or at a Western Union money transfer shop. Another similarity was that the callers all had telephone numbers with 0203 dialling codes.


Samantha Hancock added: “There is a real warning here about internet security. We all know that when we go online our security is compromised to a certain degree, but you should always exercise caution if you receive a cold call from someone who appears to know exactly what you have been searching for.


“There is always a risk in accepting offers from cold callers in any event. It is also highly unusual for companies to request payment in this way. Certainly, in the case of the loan, we know that this has proven to be a fraud. 


“There is nothing illegal about charging a fee to install a computer security package for someone or to resolve any other problem, as long as the service offered is legitimately provided. However, many genuine security packages can be easily downloaded free of charge.


“There are undoubtedly individuals around the world who have identified this as a potential cash-generating enterprise, but it is difficult to know whether they can be relied upon to do what they offer.


“If you are also suspicious that the caller is not the person they purport to be, it should sound alarm bells. Do not reveal personal financial information to anyone whose identity you cannot verify and trust. Loans should only be taken out with reputable, recognised companies.”
If anyone has any information about a similar incident, they should telephone Nottinghamshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Message sent by
Lindsay Donnelly (Police, Administrator, Nottinghamshire)

BT Scam

Hot on the heels of this years round of scam e-mails purporting to be from the Inland Revenue and offering healthy refunds we've seen a new one today which pupports to be from BT.

This is a perfect example of phishing scams whereby scammers attempt to lure you into giving over your personal or preferably credit card details by playing the age of confidence trick and pretending to be someone that you trust

Here's a sample of the e-mail:

 

Looking at this it appears to come from ebilling@bt.com but looking at the headers tells us a completely different story....

This e-mail originated from an address in China and reached us via an compromised computer.

 

This type of scam is not new and it won't be the last time we see it.   If you are one of our customers and recieve a suspect message always forward it to us and we'll be more than happy to check it out for you otherwise play by these rules;

  1. Big companies like BT, banks, ebay etc will never e-mail you to ask for details - they will nag you when you next log safely into the site.
  2. Never trust the address that an e-mail purports to come from as this can be easily forged
  3. Before clicking a link in an e-mail hover over it and look at what address comes up - if it's not the address you are expecting then it's most likely a fraud.