Application security, Breach, Data Security, Malware, Phishing

Stratfor subscribers receive phony emails

The hackers who raided the servers belonging to global intelligence firm Stratfor are using some of their plunder to send fictitious emails to subscribers.

The "lulzy" emails claim to come from George Friedman, the CEO of Stratfor. They claim the firm "would like to hear form our loyal client base as to our handling of the recent intrusion by those deranged, sexually deviant criminal hacker terrorist masterminds," according to a Friday blog post from Matthijis Koot, a network researcher at the University of Amsterdam, who reposted the message he received.

But it appears the emails were actually sent by the hackers involved in the heist, who are part of the AntiSec movement, a joint venture between Anonymous and LulzSec hackers.

The email he got also contained three links, one of which leads to a lengthy, disjointed document that includes stolen data and apparent email exchanges among Stratfor system administrators and programmers after they detected unusual activity on the network.

The goal of the emails also appears to be to have some fun at the expense of the recipients, as a second link promises a video announcement but leads to a clip of 80s pop star Rick Astley singing "Never Gonna Give You Up," a common internet meme known as rickrolling. A third link asks users to rate Stratfor's incident response, but is actually an image of a joke report form.

None of the links lead to websites that allow recipients to enter in any information, nor does there appear to be any malicious code associated with the messages.

In an apparent legitimate, follow-up message sent Friday to Stratfor readers, Friedman told recipients that Stratfor would never send an email like that.

"This email, and all similar ones, are false and attempt to prey on the privacy concerns of customers and friends," he wrote.

Interested parties are asked to follow Stratfor's Facebook and Twitter accounts for official announcements. The company's website remains offline, except for a home page that offers some information about the breach.

Nearly a week after the attack, which was publicized Christmas Eve Day, the hackers dumped 75,000 names, addresses and passwords of every customer that has ever paid Stratfor for services. Additionally, the group posted the personal information on 860,000 people who registered with the company.

The intruders also claim to have gotten their hands on 90,000 credit card numbers, which were purportedly used to make about a million dollars in donations to charities. Some security experts, however, expressed doubt that the recipients would be able to keep the money because of the fraud involved.

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