Phishing Campaigns Threatens Users With Fear of Disruption of Essential Services

Hackers have been using fake messages related to essentials services to craft their scams. They often pose as a service provider and threaten the victims about the discontinuation of essential services if immediate action is not taken by the user. The Italian postal service provider Poste Italiane is the latest one to be added to the list of such lures used by hackers. 

What happened

Attackers were recently seen using fake website resembling Poste Italiane to carry out their phishing scam.
  • In April 2020, hackers had created a look-alike phishing website of the Poste Italiane and even faked the OTP-based authentication measure to make it look realistic. Adding more to surprise, hackers were using an updated copyright text at the bottom of the page, showing year as 2020, instead of 2019, as shown on the actual website.
  • Hackers asked the users to enter their Poste Italiane credentials, along with personal and financial details and even phone number, which was also immediately used for OTP verification, leaving no clues of hack in the user’s minds.

Recent incidents with essential services

There have been several incidents in recent times when hackers were pretending themselves as essential service providers to lure their victims.
  • In December 2019, a spam email campaign attributed to TA2101 was identified, that used email containing malicious Word document as an attachment, allegedly coming from the United States Postal Service, but was actually carrying the IcedID trojan.
  • In December 2019, Royal Mail customers were targeted via a scam text message fraud. The fake SMS pretended to have arrived from the Royal Mail and offered a free iPhone 11 to the users clicking on the malicious link.
  • In May 2019, the US Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General had to publish a warning regarding “bogus emails” from bad actors posing as USPS, that were encouraging readers to click a link or attachment, to install information stealing computer virus.

Staying protected

To defend against such scams, users should stay vigilant about any emails asking for personal information, especially having a tone of urgency. If the email arrives from unknown mail ID, do not click on links before verification, and do not open any attachments. Also, do not trust any to-good-to-be-true offers, and use your judgment before participating in any open contest which requires you to provide your personal details for participation.