This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Find out more.X

Email users have been instructed to be wary of unsubscribing from suspicious emails

Share this article:

Unsubscribing from phishing emails still allows a hacker to collect and confirm email addresses.


Following research by VeriSign that revealed that nine out of ten people are vulnerable to phishing scams, the company also warned users to be aware of other methods of harvesting email addresses.


Tim Callan, vice president of product marketing at VeriSign, claimed that he was ‘sceptical' over how many people would receive an email, not recognise it and use the unsubscribe function to remove themselves from future mailings.


Callan said: “Hackers are using the unsubscribe button to build a list of email addresses. It starts by a cybercriminal looking at an email account and trying to guess the username by a typical first name and last name ‘@' a certain site, or ‘@' a specific webmail account.


“Some will hit the inbox and some will fail, and by clicking on the unsubscribe button it confirms back to them that the email address is correct.”


He also claimed that in a phishing message there will be a random character string that is specific to that email and each one is unique. He explained that this is used to track what is being opened and accessed, as when a phishing email is delivered and a user clicks on it, the hacker can then log the IP address.


Callan said: “Doing this justifies the address, the phishers want to make as much money as possible and make it more and more different. They are very smart people who are constantly innovating.”


Andrew McClelland, director of business development at industry body IMRG, said: “It is amazing how quickly a fake site can take an enormous amount of money; the customer needs to look at things and not take it at face value. The industry needs to take action to make it more difficult.


“Maybe a question mark should be made over how easy it is to set up a domain? It should be simple to set up for any business and this is prolific with any system that it is simple and it will be used by people with less than honest means. Until they are locked out we can only raise awareness over what a good site looks like.”

Share this article:

SC webcasts on demand

This is how to secure data in the cloud

Exclusive video webcast & Q&A sponsored by Vormetric

As enterprises look to take advantage of the cloud, they need to understand the importance of safeguarding their confidential and sensitive data in cloud environments. With the appropriate security safeguards, such as fine-grained access policies, a move to the cloud is as, or more, secure than an on-premise data storage.

View the webcast here to find out more

More in News

VC cyber security funding tops £850 million

VC cyber security funding tops £850 million

A new study from US-based research firm CBI Insights reveals that corporate cyber security investments have risen five-fold since 2009, with 30 percent growth in the last year alone.

Russian/Chinese cyber-security pact raises concerns

Russian/Chinese cyber-security pact raises concerns

News that Russia and China are set to sign a cyber-security treaty next month have left Western cyber experts unsure whether it is a threat or a promising development.

UK police arrest trio over £1.6 million cyber theft from cash machines

UK police arrest trio over £1.6 million cyber ...

London Police have arrested three suspected members of an Eastern European cyber-crime gang who installed malware on more than 50 bank ATM machines across the UK to steal £1.6 million.