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Gone Phishing

Fishing Rod

Both fishing and it’s phonic twin phishing, are acts in which the goal is to catch prey. Unfortunately, in the latter case, we are all targets as internet users.

Phishing falls into the category of online minefields such as E-mail scams and viruses. The best defence is awareness. With that in mind, my girlfriend having never heard the term before, may very well be a sitting duck.

What do they look like?

Your typical phishing attempt involves an email being sent, supposedly from a company or group that the recipient is familiar with. The goal of the email is for the viewer to disclose personal details. Phishing attempts can range from emails full of spelling mistakes and clearly suspect source email addresses, to very authentic looking emails – some even include convincing signatures – that link to an authentic looking website. The likes of which can and do catch people out.

The most common variety of phishing email looks as though it comes from a particular company, and a scare tactic of sorts may be used for example: “For security reasons, you are required to prove your account validity by clicking the following link and logging in. Failure to do so within one week of viewing this email will result in the suspension of your account.”

Now most people will see an email like that and instantly delete it, however some people will follow the instructions and unwillingly disclose login details and/or credit card details.

Phishing attempts are a nuisance such as spam, with costly repercussions if fallen for. An increase in this type of activity has been noticed in the past few months by us. Emails have been received by our customers that claim to be from iiNet or Westnet and ask for login details or requesting a web link to be followed.

What should I do?

As awareness is key, here are some pointers to keep in mind:

  • iiNet will NEVER send an email requesting your password or login details
  • Likewise, no company should ever request your login details by way of an email
  • If you click on a link in an email and are redirected to a website, always check the address to make sure it is correct
  • If unsure, get in contact with the company directly
  • If an email seems suspicious, it almost certainly is
  • Be skeptical (better safe than sorry)
  • Be mindful of scare tactics
  • Think before you click: is there really a package from a courier company waiting for you?

If you are too late in discovering something is a little “phishy” and have already disclosed personal details:

  • Change your password/s as soon as you can.
  • If your email account itself is compromised, ask yourself what other accounts could potentially be compromised, as many accounts use an email address in case of forgotten passwords.
  • Concerns regarding credit cards should be directed straight to your bank.

We can turn the tables on these “phishers” by raising awareness. If you discover any phishing attempts please forward them (as an attachment) on to abuse@iinet.net.au. And remember, you can always contact us on 13 22 58 with any concerns. Let’s work together to prevent our friends and family from being targets.

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16 comments

  1. Christine Williams says:

    I was told previously by Westnet to send scam emails onto spam@access.ironport.com
    Do I ignore that advice now and send them to support@iinet.net.au

  2. I normally don’t read this sort of information but I found it interesting. It is pleasing to know someone out is looking after ‘us novices’. Thank you very much Chand and westnet.

  3. Mike Wood says:

    Great article Chad and well written.

  4. Steve willmott says:

    thanks for the info chad. Have been receiving this request from a suspect site but refuse to respond. what you have described justifies my suspicions.thanks again

  5. Recently I have received e-mails from iinet requesting I send them my sign-in details including password, as a follow up to an update of their system. They say I will be off-lined if I don’t comply. These messages look authentic with the correct iinet logo. I have either ignored them or deletrd them.

  6. Hi Chad,

    Great article on phishing! Well written, straight forward and clear about about the types of scams and the risks.

    And very well timed too.

    I’ve never encounted so many of late, in particular pupporting to be from major banks, major retailers and well known international courier companies.

    Keep up the good work and continue reminding people in future posts.

    Very best regards

    Keith Yelland

  7. Kathy says:

    When one of these emails is received,is there any way of blocking this email permanently?

    • Chad Branks says:

      @Kathy, In Webmail there is an option to mark emails as spam which will block the source address. Most email clients should also have a way of doing this.

  8. Alan Gregory says:

    Another thing to look at is the target address which is shown when the mouse is hovered over a link. No need to click.

  9. Jan Pascoe says:

    I too have been receiving many emails allegedly from ANZ Bank. I tried to send it to you using abuse@iinet.net.au. but it kept advising that no matches found. Can you advise me who I can send this to for attention please?

  10. Joan Marshall says:

    Recently there was a request from Asisstance
    Dogs Australia on line which I ignored and then the charitable organization put out a warning that it was a hoax. I am now extremely careful when giving my personal details on line and keep a record of any company I have bought anything from on line.
    Fraud is on the increase be mindful!

  11. Les Pearce says:

    Exactly as Keith, March 13th said well written & communicated & easy to follow & understand, & yes I have had some to to which I have forward them onto the Banks involved which were very greatfull.
    While we’re on the subject, there used to be a Phishing choice on the toolbar in Windows-XP which I don’t seem to have anymore with Windows 7, is this still available to check on such emails?

  12. john dorman says:

    I sometimes get followup phone calls after I have deleted such an email, saying I have not responded to their email, and I am leaving my computer at risk, etc. At which point I hang up.

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