Ham disguised as spam

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Oct 17, 2008

Webshop makes mass-mailing look like phishing scam.

An email addressed to 'Dear customer', in which a user is asked to check their account details, using a link that does not lead to the sender's domain: one would hope that modern web users would not be taken in for a second by such an obvious phishing scam, but would simply delete the email after the briefest of glances.

Except that it wasn't a scam. Dutch company Bol.com sent five million such emails to its customers - many of whom, the company claims, did follow the link as requested in the message and check their details. Because of the migration to a new website, the company - the biggest webshop in the country - wanted to make sure no details had been lost. The link led to the domain of the company hired by Bol.com to send out its mailings.

When asked for a reaction by Dutch website security.nl, a spokesman for the company said he could understand users' concerns, but that only a handful of people actually believed it was a phishing scam. He said he would contact these users personally.

However, the biggest concern should not be the people who did not check their details, but the many users who did. Those users have now learnt from experience that such an email can be genuine. Are they now more or less likely to guess, next time they receive an email claiming to be from their bank or from Paypal, that it is a phishing scam?

Posted on 17 October 2008 by Virus Bulletin



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