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Issue 115 - June 2011 - Page 2

Hotmail Account Deactivation Phishing Scam

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Outline
Email, purporting to be from Hotmail, claims that, due to several unsuccessful login attempts, the recipient's Hotmail account will be deactivated within 24 hours unless he or she logs in via an "activation link".



Brief Analysis
The message is not from Hotmail. The email is a phishing scam designed to steal login details from Hotmail account holders.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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Last updated: 20th May 2011
First published: 20th May 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
Dear [email address removed]

This e-mail has been sent to you by Hotmail to inform you that your account will be deactivated within the next 24 hours due to several unsuccessful login attemps on your account.
To prevent this to happen please login securely to our activation link below:
https://login.hot**********************************************

If you have already confirmed your information then please disregard this message.

Regards,
Hotmail member services.




Detailed Analysis
This email, which purports to be from webmail service provider, Hotmail, claims that the recipient's account will be deactivated within 24 hours unless the or she login via an activation link included in the message. According to the message, the reactivation is necessary because there have been several unsuccessful login attempts on the user's Hotmail account.

However, the message is not from Hotmail. The claim that the account will be deactivated if the user does not follow the reactivation link is a lie. In fact, the email is a phishing scam designed to steal account login details from Hotmail users. Those who fall for the ruse and follow the link in the message will be taken to a fraudulent website and asked to enter their username and password.

As revealed on the following screenshot of the scam website, the login page is designed to resemble the genuine Windows Live Hotmail sign in page:

Hot Mail Phishing Scam Website

Unlike the real Hotmail sign in page, the fake login is on a non-secure (http: rather than https:) page and hosted on an Eastern European server. If a user does enter the requested account login details, he or she will then be redirected to the real Hotmail sign in page and be none the wiser until it is too late. Meanwhile, the account details will have automatically been relayed to the criminals running the scam. These criminals can then hijack the victim's real Hotmail account and use it send spam or perpetrate more scams such as the Friend Stranded in Foreign Country Scam.

This and very similar tactics have been used and reused repeatedly by scammers intent on stealing webmail login details. The same ruse has also targeted users of Yahoo, Gmail and several other email service providers.

Users should be very cautious of any email purporting to be from their webmail or Internet Service Provider that claims that they must reactivate or validate their accounts. Some versions ask recipients to simply reply to the message with their details. Others, including the one discussed here, try to entice users to submit their account information on a bogus website. Still others claim that recipient's must fill in and submit a form included in an email attachment. If you receive such an email, do not reply. Do not click any links in the message or open any attachments that it may contain.

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References
Difference Between http & https
Friend Stranded in Foreign Country Scam
Hotmail Account Closure Phishing Scam
Yahoo Account Phishing Scam Email
Gmail Account Phishing Scam
Bigpond Database Upgrade Phishing Scam



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Issue 115 Start Menu

Pages in this month's issue:
  1. Inaccurate Message Claims That Missing Joplin Tornado Kids at Children's Mercy, KC
  2. Hotmail Account Deactivation Phishing Scam
  3. Fake Virus Warning - Do Not Add 'Howard Hertzberg' Because Its a Virus
  4. Exer-Hide Dog Chew Warning Message
  5. Video Showing Man Taken by Killer Whale
  6. Picture of Huge King Brown Snake in Branxton NSW
  7. Dislike Button Virotrex Virus Warning
  8. Facebook Page Hacker Warning Message - "Visit The New Facebook" Links
  9. Dueling Banjos Hoax
  10. Advance Fee Scam - Prince William and Princess Catherine Worldwide Galore Promotion
  11. UPS Uniforms Hoax
  12. Trees Cocooned in Spider Webs After Pakistan Floods
  13. ABSA Phishing Scam Emails
  14. Osama Bin Laden Virus Emails
  15. FBI 'You Visit Illegal Websites' Malware Email
  16. HM Revenue & Customs Income Tax Repayment Phishing Scam
  17. Facebook Virus Warning - BBC Video Of Bin Laden Killing
  18. Pointless Warning Message - Facebook About to Become Owner of Your Private Photos
  19. Unfounded Facebook Rumour- Bob Howard Pedophile Warning