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e-Notes Vol. 2 No. 10

Have you ever been phished? 


I have!  In part, this is an e-mail I received.


Emergency please i need your help

Resident’s Name  e-mail address

Fri, Sep 4, 2009 at 8:47 PM


I am in hurry writing you this short message and I am sorry I didn't inform you about my traveling. I had traveled to London yesterday to visit a new Researchers' Complex in London, Imperial College London, Gallery Section, (South Kensington Campus, London SW7 2AZ), England,It has been a very sad and bad moment for me, the present condition am in right now is so hard for me to explain. I am really stranded in England because I forgot my little bag in the Taxi where my money, passport and some valuable documents were kept on my way to the Hotel am staying, I am facing a hard time here because i have no money on me and i don't know what to do or were to go to right now. i now owe the hotel some money for my stay and they want me to pay the bill soon or they will have get me out immediately, I need this help from you urgently because i need to pay the hotel bill i owe and get a new ticket back home. So please can you help me with a sum of  $3000 to sort out my problems here. I am sending you this email from the hotel receptionist computer right now because i don't have access to phone and don't have money to call international right now, I will appreciate what so ever you can afford to send me for now and I promise to pay back your money as soon as i return home.i will be waiting to hear from you so i can tell you on how to send the money down here so i can be home immediately.
Best Regards”

Resident’s name


How did this happen?  A quick phone call told me the resident was right here enjoying life at Shell Point.   So how was the e-mail account high jacked and used to send out this phish?  That is one of the reasons for this speciale-Notes.  When the resident wanted to send an e-mail, the Yahoo account was opened, the e-mail typed and sent.  In retrospect, the page didn’t look quite right, but when you are in a hurry….  Obviously all the addresses in the account were utilized to send out the phish above.  (This just happened to be Yahoo, it could happen with any e-mail account or page.)


What can we learn from this?  If you open a web page or you e-mail account and it doesn’t look quite right, DON’T USE IT!!  The experience here was not good but fortunately the bad guys didn’t (or couldn’t) infect the recipient computers so it seems to be limited to just that one time. 


Now what?  The recommendation was to not use that account again since you don’t know the extent of the penetration.  Could they still harvest information if you sent or received from that account?  A new account was opened and the names imported.  Only time will tell if any use will be made of the old account. 


What can you do?  It would be a good idea to personalize your e-mail page so it would be obvious if the page were counterfeit.  For example, with Gmail (my favorite), you can select many different themes.  Just go to settings and click on themes.  If you have a beach scene on your account and a page comes up in the “generic” Gmail page, you would know there is something wrong.   This is a strong case for the ABCs, always be careful.


Hope this e-Notes is helpful. 


Published by the Computer College Steering Committee (CCSC)

Russ Kraay, Editor