Commonwealth bank users targets for phishing

Commonwealth Bank users targets for phishing

There have been (in recent months) phishing emails stopped by our spam filters that targeted Westpac, ANZ and National Australia Bank customers. It seems that the Commonwealth bank customers don’t get to miss out; a bunch of phishing emails targeting users of the Commonwealth’s internet banking service (called NetBank) have been stopped by our email filters over the last week.

As phishing emails go, this one is moderately complex. Figure A shows a sample of the phishing email. It uses the Commonwealth Bank branding and has a fairly typical copyright stamp in the bottom right hand corner. The subject of the email is “Access Locked”, whilst the sender appears as NetBank. The email is composed of two sentences; this reduces the probability of the email creator making a grammatical error.

MailShark Commonwealth bank users targets for phishing
Figure A – Click to Enlarge

The email content says that the user’s NetBank account has been locked for undisclosed reasons. However, the user can unlock the account by clicking on a link provided in the email.

But there are signs that this is not legitimate. For one thing, the email does not have a salutation. All Australian banks have a personalised salutation. Mousing over the solitary link in the email shows a suspected phishing site. Checking the sender’s email domain name shows a site that looks a little like the Commonwealth Bank email domain. However, it is not an exact replica. Using similar looking domain names is a technique that criminals occasionally use.

There are a few methods to guard against phishing emails such as this one. Firstly, mouse over the links to check they are legitimate. Don’t click on links in an email. Don’t download email attachments. Check the wording of the email. Ensure you have up to date Anti Virus software installed, and consider using email filtering to stop phishing emails before they hit your Inbox.

Scott Reeves
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