More than 200 new phishing web sites have been created by cyber-criminals in the last week to mimic the authentic Barclays web page, according to Bitdefender data. The fake URLs spread via a new spam campaign targeting customers of the UK bank. Since the beginning of the year, Barclays has been one of the British banks the most abused by spammers.
Most phishing web sites that copy the Barclays web site have been created on .com, Polish and Russian domains. Recent days saw a phishing wave that started with “http://barclays.co.uk.fam-tours.ru.â€, a technique to trick users into believing they landed on the legitimate barclays.co.uk bank domain. These long URLs can easily trick mobile users because the address can’t be entirely shown on the screen on small phones.
This time, bogus Barclays e-mails fool clients into believing access to their account has been limited/suspended because of login errors. “To reactive your account, please download the document attached to this email to review your account activity,” spam e-mails read. “If not completed we will be forced to close your account.”
After clicking on the links embedded in the message or opening the attached html document, clients are taken to a spoof website where their financial and personal details are captured by cyber-criminals.
Some phishing websites spreading in this campaign also contained malware, making Barclays clients more vulnerable to the cyber-attack. Fortunately, the fake pages have been quickly removed from the Internet. Users who keep their antivirus updated are protected in several steps: e-mails are blocked by antispam engines, and in case they are open, the anti-phishing or anti-malware alert pops up.
Barclays clients are not the only ones targeted by cyber-criminals on a regular basis. Paypal, eBay, Twitter and WellsFargo are some of the most popular companies whose reputation crooks love to exploit.
According to Bitdefender, phishing e-mails represent 2.5 percent of all spam messages sent worldwide. In the UK, percentages are higher, as phishers seem to prefer Brits.
Like many other financial companies, Barclays has warned clients it will never contact them by e-mail in this way to announce their account has been “suspended” In May this year, Barclays Wealth & Investment Management started testing a biometrics solution to authenticate customers by checking their voices against pre-recorded voice patterns.
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This article is based on the technical information provided courtesy of Alin Damian, Bitdefender Online Threats Researcher.