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AOL Password Phishing Scam - 'TJ2117 Virus Detected'

Email purporting to be from AOL claims that a TJ2117 virus has been detected in the recipient's computer folders and he or she must click a link to login and switch to a secure anti virus system.

AOL TJ2117 Virus Phishing

Brief Analysis
The email is not from AOL. It is a phishing scam designed to steal account login details from AOL customers. The compromised accounts will be hijacked by criminals and used for further spam and scam campaigns.

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Subj: Customer Care Solution

A TJ2117 Virus has been detected in your folders. Login Here to Switch to the new Secure TJ2117 anti virus 2013.

Thank you for choosing our service.

America Online

Detailed Analysis
This brief email, which purports to be from large Internet service provider AOL, claims that a "TJ2117 virus" has been detected in the recipient's computer folders. The recipient is urged to login to his or her AOL account by clicking a link so that a "new secure" anti virus can be deployed to fix the problem.

However, the message is not from AOL and the claim that a virus has been discovered on the user's system is a lie. The email is a criminal ruse designed only to steal AOL login details.

Those who click the link will be taken to a bogus website that contains a fake AOL login box. Once users have submitted their login details on the fake login form, they will be automatically redirected to the genuine AOL home page. Thinking that they have completed the necessary "switch", victims may not realize until later that they have fallen for a phishing scam.

Meanwhile, the criminals behind the scam are able to use the stolen account details to login to the real AOL accounts belonging to their victims, steal more personal information and use the compromised accounts to launch further scam and spam campaigns. The criminals may also lock out the rightful owners, so that victims cannot easily stop the fraudulent activity from taking place.

Fairly crude scam attempts such as this one are aimed at less experienced computer users who my be panicked by news that they may have a virus on their system and click the links without due forethought.

Email password phishing scams are very common and have regularly targeted users of all major email providers. It is always safest to login to your online accounts by entering the site address into your browser's address bar rather than by clicking a link in an email.

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Last updated: March 15, 2013
First published: March 15, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
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