The Annoying Internet Part 2: Phishing
June 10, 2010
Because phishing is so widely talked about, I wouldn’t normally write about it, but, I just came across a really good example of it and wanted to share. It is helpful sometimes to actually see the scam and not just hear about it
I’ve been looking for a job and was browsing Yahoo’s Hotjobs when I came across the following ad:
Because it is on yahoo’s job board I felt comfortable it was a legitimate listing. Also, you can see above the listing that it is posted on 3 other boards, which would also seem to lend further credibility.
The detailed listing also looks pretty good. There aren’t any spelling or grammar mistakes that often accompany scams (especially the overseas ones). The only thing that didn’t quite seem right was the pay-rate, which I thought seemed a bit much (for an unarmed guard with no experience, I would expect around 12/hr not 16).
Clicking the apply button took me to the company’s website. Again it looks pretty good. All of the links work and go to pages with relevant information. While there isn’t a lot of information given, for a basic website, it is adequate. The only thing missing that I would expect is some information on actual employees (at least a bio of the owner should be there).
It’s not an award winning website or very big. Yet, there isn’t anything really missing; no bad links, no grammar/spelling errors. And it has contact information and an office location. So I went ahead to the application page…
I actually made it halfway through this form before my spidey sense went off and I remembered one of the the golden rules of internet usage,
Yikes!! No secure server. That seemed very strange to me. If I am submitting an application and personal information such as phone number and address I expect to be on a secure server. I am very paranoid on the internet – the metaphorical equivalent of someone who thinks every package that comes in the mail is a bomb. So I personally don’t ever give ANY information out if I am not on a secure server, even something relatively benign like my real name. And I certainly won’t give out a phone number or address. You can tell you’re on a secure server by looking in the address bar which should start with https:// as opposed to a regular server which is http://
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It is a transfer protocol that provides “encryption and secure (website security testing) identification of the server”. You can think of it like the difference between transporting a bag of cash in your backseat versus in an armored truck. Keep in mind though that a secure server isn’t necessarily safe. Transporting data might be safe, but anyone can set up a secure server so you have to also trust who you are sending it to.
I decided to do a little bit more snooping on Mann Security just out of curiosity, though, I was already convinced something was phishy.
First, I checked the Better Business Bureau BBB. They had one listing for Mann Security Consulting but it was an older company from Utah and was considered no longer in business by the BBB. I’m doubtful the two are related, but either way, there is no current listing for Mann Security.
Next I checked Oregon Secretary of State for a business license. Again there was none found. And it seems to me they would need one right?
Looking up the domain name, I found that the domain contact was someone named Trista Mann. I found a profile for her on Linkedin which just goes to show you how good of a scam they are running.
Further down you can see her experience. No other experience is listed other than working for Mann Security at which she evidently in 1 year went from a beginning consultant to the VP of Operations. Sure she did.
And finally if all of that wasn’t enough I found some information on Web of Trust (WOT) that links Mann Security with a significant phishing operation run by Ayman Ahmed El-Difrawi and his ‘company’ called Internet Solutions Corporation.
So in review:
- Job a bit too good to be true.
- Site good but not quit as good as it should be.
- Asking for personal information on unsecured server.
- No BBB listing.
- No apparent Oregon business license.
- Only visible employee doesn’t seem to exist anywhere else.
- Suspected links to significant phishing operation.
The first 3 alone
where enough for me to walk away from this one, and the other 4 just added
confirmation. Pretty good scam as far as scams go.