ViddyHo Phishing Scam

Last month, many users of  Google’s GoogleChat service found themselves preyed upon as potential victims to the ViddyHo worm phishing scam. The phishing scam was using a come-on approach and sent messages to some users of the online chat service from someone appearing to be one of their contacts. Although the latest phishing scam was using a chat service there is always the potential for such phishing scams to resurface through email.

In this case the scammers used the traditional bait of prompting a user to click on a link from tinyurl.com, a service that shrinks URLs for easy sharing on sites like Twitter. Victims were then directed to the ViddyHo Web site where they were asked for their Google login information. Once the user had “logged in” they unwittingly opened up their contact list for the worm to spread.

This is old advice but is worth repeating: verify and confirm links sent to you from people you know before you click on the links. The names listed in the “To” field, although familiar to you, may not have really sent the email messages. I’ve discussed in previous posts the importance of authenticating the users who have sent you email and the use of certificates of authenticity – are they really who they say they are?

In 2008, many people received emails from foreigners overseas who claimed to know someone who recently had died but had left a large sum of money. The foreigner would offer to split some of the proceeds with the email recipient in exchange for cooperation and some help with wiring the money to the states. Most variations of these email phishing scams were offshoots of the Nigerian money wires. Now that people are fully aware of these scams the scammers have to invent new methods and new false scenarios to suck in the innocent email recipients. As a result, tricking people into viewing video links is becoming more and more prevalent as the perpetrators are able to infect the computer by uploading malware in the background while the videos run.

So to protect your company’s user community it would be wise to post an internal message warning your users not to click on links sent to them or to log on to any sites related to ViddyHo.com site from emails received from friends or acquaintances.

Written by Mike Rede

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