O2 customers hit by phishing scams
Mobile operator's customers targeted by hackers trying to cash-in on this week's network outage.
The network problems that blighted thousands of O2 customers across the UK this week appear to have inspired hackers to try and steal their account login details.
An IT Pro reader passed on an email they received on Thursday morning, apparently sent out by The O2 Team, updating them about the latest twist in the firm’s network outage.
Oddly, the reader who sent the email in is not an O2 account holder.
At the end of the email, recipients are then advised – via a poorly written message – to visit a URL to update their O2 account information for security purposes.
“As part of ongoing upgrade, We (sic) have introduced a new internet security into our online services to protect all our users (sic) information. We endeavour all our user's (sic) to protect their account by clicking on the link below,” it states.
When you click on the link, users are directed to an “O2 Security Update” account login page.
They often choose to strike when your guard is most likely to be down.
If you leave the boxes blank and press return, a “thank you for updating your account” message appears, before re-directing users to another O2 login page.
According to several web domain registration sites IT Pro checked, the O2 Security Update site was registered just over a fortnight ago in China, casting doubts on its authenticity.
The email address used to direct users to the site was flagged on anti-phishing website, Millersmiles, in May for sending out dubious emails.
In a statement to IT Pro, a spokesperson for O2 confirmed the email and the site are not genuine.
"We haven't sent any emails to customers asking them to enter their account details and clearly we advise customers to make sure they only enter their password on our own website," said the statement.
Speaking to IT Pro, Ian Moyse, security market watcher and sales director at cloud CRM firm Workbooks, said it is not unusual for hackers to seize on high-profile outages to make people fall for their scams.
“They often choose to strike when your guard is most likely to be down, so that you’re not thinking about the 'don't click through' mantra,” he said.
“In this instance by preying on pained O2 customers who are desperate to be back online.”