Last week I received another traditional phishing email; apologies for the lack of images because my email account is setup not to load externally attached pictures. Here it is, with my address removed:
Yes, this is pretty much a variation of the last one I commented on months ago, namely:
- It is an invoice for some product, in this case it implies to be some kind of Norton product.
- It creates a veil of credibility by alluding itself (blue box) in a rather half-ass way to be related a real company. Note it claims to be "Norton Support LLC," which I have no idea who it may be. Since the average person probably heard of Norton, who sells an antivirus and other security products, it is easy for said person to associate both.
- Still on the credibility standpoint, the sender address is supposedly from quickbooks (I did not bother to check the header). Yes, a large company right Norton would not be using quickbooks to send its bills. However, if you have to deal with purchasing you probably have seen invoices from smaller business which use the online quickbooks site; when they send their invoices, their invoices will have "<email@example.com>" as the email. But, we hope they will look more like "Something Of Doom LLC <firstname.lastname@example.org>" instead of "Intuit E-Commerce Service <email@example.com>"; I think the later is not the default value, but it sounds credible enough.
- To create the urgency, the invoice is for $800. That will make someone's heart beat a bit faster and immediately want to open the attached PDF file (red box) to find what this invoice is all about. This is a bit lazier than the last phishing email we posted about as some mail services will disable attachments with macros in hope to block malicious payloads. However, most of the mail services do not do that; mine could not be bothered and told me if I want to see it, and be properly infected, I need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader (green box). Since my mail service does not automagically open anything, I have some extra time to read the email and decide what I want to do next.
- It provides a number which may be tied to the phisher (VoIP?) so if the frantic recipient of the email calls, the phisher (we called him Peggy in the last phishing post) can then social engineer his way into the victim's computer.
- The return address is a typical quasi-randomly created Gmail one; they could not be bothered with making it sound like it came from a billing department as it claims to be.
How effective it is? I think it depends on where people will focus on. The phishers hope their marks will see the value of the invoice -- $800 -- and immediately open the pdf to find out what is going on. The best thing to do here is stop -- but not stop/drop/roll as you are not on fire -- whenever you see something suspicious, specially when it claims to be urgent. Then ask yourself if you expected an invoice from Norton. Then look at the email addresses and see if they are not overly suspicious.
Remember: phishers are lazy, and they hope you are equally lazy!