Sunday, September 04, 2005

Stupid phishers

Phishing schemes really annoy me. First off, it insults my intelligence that some stupid spammer thinks I'm stupid enough to give my personal information out in response to an e-mail. Lately, phishers have been getting more sophisticated. I've even gotten a few that almost fooled me (although I would still never give out personal information in response to an e-mail solicitation and fortunately because I use a Mac it's very unlikely that some horrible spyware could be installed without my knowing it just by my visiting the website). Then I received this in my e-mail the other day, to show me the opposite end of the phishing spectrum:


Dear Optium member,

Technical services are being carried out on a planned software upgrade.
We earnestly ask you to visit the following link to start the procedure
of confirmation of your personal data.

Follow this link to update account information.
However, failure to update your billing information record
will result in account termination.

We present our apologies and thank you for your cooperation.

Sincerelly,
Support Team


I would think that rule number one in phishing schemes would be: If you want to fool anyone, it's helpful to be able to spell the service you're trying to fool people you're from. It's Optimum Online, not Optium Online. Oh, and learn to spell "sincerely."

Then, something didn't look quite right. I didn't notice this until I highlighted the text to use for this post. So I looked at it more carefully:

Cayuga exciting inequality Darwinism sourdough
Dear Optium member, heroically Austrian despised uniformed brainy

Technical services are being carried out on a planned software upgrade. woodpecker Edward rapid Mueller parked
We earnestly ask you to visit the following link to start the procedure lashed hyacinth rightness organizer Kajar
of confirmation of your personal data. flanked cattle mistress shearing Asiatics

Follow this link to update account information. Betties embalm aggravate shapeless spinally

However, failure to update your billing information record Amharic recaptures modulates penal collies
will result in account termination. physic burrowed reporting livers Milan

We present our apologies and thank you for your cooperation. arctic laundering vaudeville Avernus bleedings


Sincerelly, calling gadget unlinking stagnant vales
Support Team uniting fader survivals Dominican Becky

Unbelievable. A bunch of random gibberish text in very light color included along as a strategy of getting past my spam filtering software! Do these idiots think people really wouldn't notice this? Is anyone, even an Internet newbie, stupid enough to fall for this, click the link, and actually give these morons their personal information?

End of rant.

6 example(s) of insolence returned:


At 9/04/2005 1:05 PM, Anonymous ArtK said...

There's a sucker born every minute.
-- P.T. Barnum

No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.
-- H. L. Mencken (attr)

C'mon Orac... you see the hundreds (thousands) who fall prey to alties and this surprises you? Sadly, social engineering is very, very effective.

For more things like this, do a search for "nigerian scam" or "419".

 

At 9/04/2005 6:53 PM, Anonymous g said...

Is anyone stupid enough to fall for this? Heck, yes. The last figure I heard was about 5%. Terrifying.

 

At 9/04/2005 7:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Orac, I won a lottery I didn't even know about! In fact, I won millions of dollars in a bunch of lotteries I never heard of! And oddly enough, they want me to not talk about it, instead of using me for publicity!

When you have a big, cheap net like the Internet to catch suckers in, g's 5% response rate is plenty.
VKW

 

At 9/04/2005 11:02 PM, Anonymous Dave Harmon said...

A 5% return would be a jackpot to this crew. When they send out 10.000 letters, even a 0.1% return is paydirt.

Not everyone is as alert as you or I. A lot of people have shaky English skills themselves, and/or poor judgement. Remember that over the years, a whole lot of people have been "dumped" onto the Internet with minimal explanation, and for some of these, the whole business might as well be pure magic. It's not intuitively obvious to them that a message can be dangerous, or that the "From:" line might not show the real sender. They often haven't figured out the flip-side of "nobody knows you're a dog".

My own mom is on the Internet -- she's quite an intelligent woman, but she deals with the computer by rote -- to show her how to do something, I have to show her every click and menu (which she writes down). Looking for invisible or near-invisible text would never occur to her. I sometimes worry that she'll be caught by one of the more polished scams or subtler traps.

 

At 9/05/2005 2:53 AM, Blogger Kristjan Wager said...

So is you upset about the spam/phising attempt, or by the fact that it was a bad attempt?

Oh, and don't get to reliant on the fact that you have a Mac. They also have safety issues, though those don't get exploited as much as the infamerous PC/Windows combi.

 

At 9/08/2005 12:57 PM, Blogger The Eternal Gaijin said...

Actually,
A far less sophisticated phish caught one of my co-workers yesterday. Everything about the phish seemed to put up a warning flag, but she charged headlong into it, eyes wide open.
Or to put it another way.
Just when you think you've made it idiot-proof, someone builds a better idiot.

 

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