Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Thou deboshed phish, thou

I had a very narrow escape today, thanks to my Norton Internet Security. I had an email purporting to be from PayPal, asking me to update my details. As a precaution, I opened the PayPal website in another window and the colour scheme, logo, layout and font all looked exactly the same; the email even had a warning about false emails asking for personal details! I really thought it was genuine and was about to enter my password when Norton intervened and told me not to do that.

I checked Paypal's own advice on security and found there were several giveaway signs to look for: the genuine article always addresses you by name, while the phishers don't have that information and use general terms, in this case 'paypal member'; there were also very slight differences in their internet address which I only discovered on close inspection.

I followed PayPal's security instructions an
d forwarded the dodgy email to them, they confirmed that it was a phishing email. I felt shaken at first, as though I had disturbed an intruder in the house, then I was very angry. After all, I use PayPal so that I can feel secure in buying online, who do these phishy people think they are? If they don't already look like Caliban, I hope they wake up tomorrow transformed into this 'deboshed fish'.


  1. These emails go in cycles, but PayPal are the most common of the lot.

    It's best to bookmark PayPal to your bookmarks toolbar folder (I see you use Firefox, very sensible), and only ever use that link to go into PayPal other than when you're paying for something from a genuine site such as eBay.

    Googlemail now removes the fake link, and substitutes the correct URL (but not as a link).

    Web based email normally identifies these as spam, and your email client probably should as well; it may need updating.

  2. Thank you, Stephen. I use Yahoo web mail and I've found it very good at filtering the spam until this happened. It was Symantec and not Yahoo that identified this intruder. Do you recommend changing to Googlemail?

  3. I've nearly been caught in the same manner, the e.mails are so convincing. There's an eBay one doing the rounds too so keep an eye out for that.

  4. Thank you, Cath. Living in an area where we still feel safe leaving doors unlocked in the daytime, I hate having this feeling that there is always someone out there wanting to harm you.

  5. Nice one, on the Internet we are one click away from the nicest but also the nastiest people in the world.

    Although, I consider myself a very experienced user of the Internet and well know the problems of phishing, I clicked on a link in an email once in my online email system. My online email system refused to open up the page and I realized what was happening in time.

    It's very easy and we aren't always alert when we are online.

    Great blog. I'll be back.

    Bye for now


  6. Welcome, Rob. Thank you for your kind comments. I've followed your link and see you a fellow resident and lover of the West Country. I'll be back to look at your posts later.


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