Massive iTunes phishing attack

Apple’s popular iTunes platform has become a major target for hackers looking to steal credit card data from the service’s millions of users.

Victims receive a cleverly-crafted email informing them that they have made an expensive purchase on iTunes. The user, having never made the purchase to begin with, is concerned by the email and naturally tries to resolve the problem – in this case by clicking on the proffered (fake) link. An example of this fraudulent iTunes receipt is below:

After clicking the link, the victim is asked to download a fake PDF reader. Once installation is complete, the user is redirected to an infected Web page containing the ZeuS Trojan, which is specifically designed to steal personal data. This phishing attack was uncovered shortly after a similar phishing attack targeting LinkedIn users appeared last week, which appears to have originated in Russia.

“Phishing is nothing new,” said Luis Corrons, Technical Director of PandaLabs. “What never ceases to surprise us is that the techniques used to trick victims continue to be so simple, but the design and content is so very well-orchestrated. It’s very easy to fall into the trap. When using services such as iTunes, it is absolutely crucial that users never go to the website via email, but rather from the platform itself where they can verify their account status.”

This technique has been reported to the Anti-Phishing Working Group, which has started to block some of the Web addresses linked to in the fake email.

PandaLabs advises all users to be wary of any emails related to iTunes, regardless of how genuine they seem. Users who think they may have been affected are urged to scan their computers thoroughly to locate and remove any possible active threats.