Phishers in Microsoft's Clothing

Two new spam scams masquerade as official messages from top Microsoft officials

Tim Wilson, Editor in Chief, Dark Reading, Contributor

August 24, 2007

2 Min Read

Is Microsoft the new eBay?

Only phishers and their fashion consultants know for sure, but if this week's spam scams are any indication, eBay is "out" and Microsoft is "in" as the disguise of choice for today's stylish spammer.

In fact, two new phishing scams involving Microsoft have been reported in the last two days. The first creative ruse is a message that promises to pay 100,000 British pounds to a select few victims of international spam scams around the world.

  • This is to bring to your notice that I have been delegated by the FCC, Microsoft International, President of Microsoft, representing Europe, Middle East Africa and Mr. Neil Holloway and United Nations directorate on security, Mr. Colin Munro, to collate details and make suitable arrangements to pay 250 scam victims the minimum sum of 100,000 GBP (One Hundred Thousand Pounds) each.

    We are to pay 100 victims in this second quarter," the message continues. "You have been listed for this payment as one of the scammed victims and beneficiaries to be paid this aforementioned amount, get back to us as soon as possible for proper assessment.

The message doesn't say whether Microsoft or U.N. officials will deliver the check in a big, white limousine, like Ed McMahon.

In the second spam scam, Australian users are receiving an email from "The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation" that offers genuine news of a recent award that was given to a library in Australia's Northern Territory, according to security vendor Sophos.

The message invites readers to click on several URLs to read more about the award. The links lead victims to an infected Website in Korea, which downloads malware that exploits a previously-patched vulnerability in Microsoft's XML code, Sophos says.

Phishers have assumed Microsoft's clothing in several other scams this year, including a May campaign in which spammers faked a Microsoft piracy control warning and demanded the user's credit card. In March, phishers purporting to be Microsoft officials promised users large amounts of cash.

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About the Author(s)

Tim Wilson, Editor in Chief, Dark Reading


Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one of the top cyber security journalists in the US in voting among his peers, conducted by the SANS Institute. In 2011 he was named one of the 50 Most Powerful Voices in Security by SYS-CON Media.

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