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Westnet 'Upgrade Your Email' Phishing Scam


Outline

Message purporting to be from Australian ISP Westnet claims that users must click a link to upgrade a soon to expire email account.

Facebook phising

Brief Analysis

The email is not from Westnet. It is a phishing scam designed to trick users into supplying Westnet account login details to online criminals. If you receive this message, do not click any links or open any attachments that it contains.

Example

Subject: Your email will soon expire

Dear Westnet User,
Your email account is due for upgrade.
Kindly click on the link below or copy and paste to your browser and follow the instruction to upgrade your email.
[Link Removed]
Sincere regards,

Westnet Pty.


Detailed Analysis

According to this email, which purports to be from Australian based ISP Westnet, the user's email account will soon expire. The message advises recipients that they must follow a link to upgrade their email accounts.

However, the email is not from Westnet and the recipient's email account is not due for upgrade as claimed. The same email is sent randomly to thousands of recipients.

The message is a phishing scam designed to fool recipients into giving their Westnet account login details to criminals.

Users who click the link as instructed will be taken to a fraudulent website where they will be asked to submit their Westnet email address and password, ostensibly to log on and upgrade their account. After submitting the login information, victims will receive a 'Thank-you' message and may therefore believe that the supposed upgrade process is already complete.

But, alas, the criminals operating the scam can then collect their account login details. Armed with the stolen data, the criminals can hijack the real Westnet accounts belonging to their victims. They may then use the email accounts to send out a new round of scam emails in the names of their victims. They may also harvest other personal information from within the compromised accounts and use it to conduct further fraudulent activities.

Westnet will not send out unsolicited emails asking users to supply their account login details. Such ruses are very common and target customers of service providers all around the world. Be very cautious of any email that claims that you must click a link or open an attachment to verify account details, rectify a service problem or billing issue, or upgrade to a new system. If you receive such a message, do not click any links or open any attachments that it contains.

Westnet has published information about phishing scams on its website.



Last updated: April 22, 2014
First published: April 22, 2014
Written by Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
Phishing Scams - Anti-Phishing Information
Westnet - Phishing