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Tuesday, 16 June 2009

WebTrends just doesn't get it

WebTrends is a service I used to run a few years ago for web analytics, until the hundreds of dollars per month it was charging for analytics which I could get cheaper elsewere (or now even free) became ridiculous.

So, I stopped using the service and opted out of all email communications as I was no longer interested. So, this bizarre email from WebTrends plops into my mailbox today:


Thank you for taking a moment to look at this email. We know you've unsubscribed from Marketing Communications from us and respect your request, but wanted to let you know that we're making some much-needed changes to our email programming. Our new approach lets you tell us what messages you want. Tell us which of these topics are most valuable to you and we'll limit what we send to what you're interested in. Simply click on the link below to personalise your email subscription. Still not interested? Ignore this message, it'll be the last email you receive from us.
Let's read that again.. "We know you've unsubscribed from Marketing Communications from us and respect your request".. well, clearly you bloody aren't respecting my request, are you?

WebTrends is not the worst offender - some companies simply do not understand the meaning of the word "unsubscribe". Doesn't it mean "don't send me anything unless I change my mind"? It seems it now means "don't send me anything unless you really want to" instead.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Personal Computer World to close

Noooo! According to the Guardian, Personal Computer World is to close after 31 years of publication. I've read it for 29 of those 31 years. A damned shame, and the only paper-based IT magazine I still read.

Mind you, I'm still upset about BYTE closing and that was 11 years ago!

The last issue of PCW is out on the 18th June. Sniff.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

mediahousenamemartmovie.cn / nonfathighestlocate.cn injection attack

Another set of injection attacks seem to be doing the rounds, possibly related to the recent Gumblar attack.

In this case, the injected code is an IFRAME pointing to hxxp:||mediahousenamemartmovie.cn:8080/ts/in.cgi?pepsi27 and redirecting to hxxp:||nonfathighestlocate.cn:8080/index.php which attempts to load a Flash exploit (VirusTotal results) and PDF exploit (VirusTotal results). The payload includes a DLL (perhaps C:\WindowsSystem32\1028T.DLL although it may vary) that offers some sort of backdoor functionality (VirusTotal results).

The malware domains are on 89.149.240.64 in Germany, all domains on that server seem to be malware related and should be blocked. The server identifies itself via RDNS as "fuckingl33t.eu" although that proves nothing.
  • Autobestwestern.cn
  • Bestlitediscover.cn
  • Bestwebfind.cn
  • Bigbestfind.cn
  • Bigtopartists.cn
  • Giantnonfat.cn
  • Greatbethere.cn
  • Homenameworld.cn
  • Hugebest.cn
  • Hugebestbuys.cn
  • Hugepremium.cn
  • Hugetopdiscover.cn
  • Litepremium.cn
  • Litetopfinddirect.cn
  • Litetopseeksite.cn
  • Lotbetsite.cn
  • Mediahomenameshoppicture.cn
  • Mediahousenamemartmovie.cn
  • Nameforshop.cn
  • Nanotopdiscover.cn
  • Nonfathighestlocate.cn
  • Thebestyoucanfind.cn
  • Topfindworld.cn
  • Toplitesite.cn
  • Tvnameshop.cn
  • Yourlitetopfind.cn
Nonfathighestlocate.cn was on 89.149.240.64, but then pointed at to 82.208.58.199 in the Czech Republic.

If this is related to Gumblar, then the problem could be down to compromised FTP passwords. If your site has been infected with this attack, then you need to carefully check each machine that has FTP access to your website, clean them up and then change your FTP password to something secure.

Monday, 1 June 2009

flyappraisals.com scam

Part of an ongoing domain name scam, flyappraisals.com is a fake domain name appraisal used in conjunction with a bogus unsolicited offer to buy a domain, similar to the following:

We are interested to buy your domain name [redacted] and offer to buy it from you for 65% of the appraised market value.

As of now we accept appraisals from either one of the following leading appraisal companies:

sedo.com
flyappraisals.com
accuratedomains.com


If you already have an appraisal please forward it to us.

As soon as we have received your appraisal we will send you our payment (we use Paypal for amounts less than $2,000 and escrow.com for amounts above $2,000) as well as further instructions on how to complete the transfer of the domain name.

We appreciate your business,
Out of these three "appraisal" companies, flyappraisals.com is the cheapest. So, naturally a lot of people will part with some money for an appraisal. Of course, the offer to buy the domain name never comes through and the domain name owner is out of pocket.

It looks like this scam is being run out of Canada, and we have covered it many times before: here, here, here and here. If you live in Canada and have been ripped off, then reporting it to the RCMP may get some results. You should also raise a dispute with PayPal to get a refund.


This particular site has a jolly bit of flash on it, unlike the plain HTML of the old sites. It is hosted on 124.217.231.209 in Malaysia.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Bing.com is coming. W00t!

Microsoft is launching a new search engine called bing.com on Monday. Given the current fashion for "reboots" in movies and TV shows, bing.com can be considered a reboot of live.com which is turn was a reboot of MSN Search, and it follows in the great traditions of Google Killers such as.. errr... Cuil.

Microsoft say:
We took a new approach to go beyond search to build what we call a decision engine. With a powerful set of intuitive tools on top of a world class search service, Bing will help you make smarter, faster decisions. We included features that deliver the best results, presented in a more organized way to simplify key tasks and help you make important decisions faster.

And features like cashback, where we actually give you money back on great products, and Price Predictor, which actually tells you when to buy an airline ticket in order to help get you the best price — help you make smarter decisions, and put money back in your pocket.
I say:
Meh.
Microsoft have never been any good at search, and it's hard to see how this will beat Google when all people want to do is find stuff and move on. Heck, even Google struggles to get people to use more than search - according to Alexa, 90% of Google traffic is for search, image search and mail. If people really wanted more, they would probably use it.

Anyway, we fixed Bing's logo for them.



According the the Internet Archive, the bing.com domain already has a substantial history of fail. Including a bizarre scheme to turn email messages into snail mail post. Hmmmm.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Podzz.com domain scam

Podzz.com is the latest incarnation of a fraudulent domain appraisal scam being run out of Canada. The basic pitch is that you receive an unsolicited offer for a domain name, with a list of three or more possible appraisal services to evaluate it. In this case, podzz.com is the cheapest, and the most likely for the victim to choose.

Of course, what then happens is that the offer disappears and the victim is out of pocket. We have covered this scam and the people behind it here, here and here. Avoid.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

"Dealer warning as police investigate security imposters"

I don't usually recycle press releases, but this one is of interest. It's really aimed at mobile phone dealers and details the possibility of customer poaching through stolen paperwork, but it seems to have good general guidance that applies to most companies.

Dealer warning as police investigate security imposters
CRIMINAL gangs posing as security staff are targeting mobile phone dealers, according to experts.

Scammers are trying to trick staff into handing over confidential data by pretending to be from shredding companies according to one of the UK’s largest operators.

Competitors are even reported to be raiding the bins of dealer with lax security at their premises to uncover useful details about contract expiry dates.

Jim Watson, managing director of Shred Easy, which destroys confidential data for mobile phone dealers, said:

“Scammers are targeting dealers to get their hands on valuable paperwork. There has been a spate of people pretending to be working for Shred Easy and our competitors by trying to trick staff into handing over bags of confidential data that has been safely kept within a store.


“Mobile phone dealers are vigilant in terms of securely storing their data but when it comes to the disposal of that information they must be alert to con artists trying to trick them into handing it over.


“Major operators will suffer dearly and some independent dealers could even be put out of business if the data fell into the wrong hands. The loss of confidential phone numbers, contact details as well as details about contracts and customers would be devastating.


“We have already been in contact with the police and made them aware of the details. I can’t go into details about who was targeted for legal reasons but it was a major mobile phone retailer and we’ve ensured their staff are alert and follow the official policy for dealing with confidential waste.


“Dealers must be also be alert to the fact that their competitors are fighting tooth and nail to get their hands on data and in some cases we’ve heard reports of competitors sifting the bins outside dealerships to get confidential customer details so they can be poached at a later date”

Shred Easy offers five top tips for mobile phone dealers:

1) Always ask for identification
2) Only deal with an accredited shredding company
3) Make use of professional ‘onsite shredding vehicles’
4) Store confidential data securely in store
5) Don’t throw paperwork in the bin


See www.shreadeasy.com

While you might think to challenge someone coming into your business premises, how often do you check that people taking waste away are really who they say they are?

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

"Norton Finance" fraudulent loan offer

Norton Finance are a real company that offers loans, typically to people with poor credit ratings. This lazy scam email is not from Norton Finance, but is instead is a scam, routed through IP address 209.226.175.134 in Canada which is well known for fraudulent emails. Avoid.

Subject: home loan or loan for any legitimate reason
From: "NORTON FINANCE COMPANY" bengalfinancial@bellnet.ca
Date: Tue, May 26, 2009 9:48 pm

For further enquires and to apply for a loan from us,please feel free to contact our application desk with details.Send us an email
Mr. Tony White
norton.finance@btinternet.com
Regards,
Stanke Kathryn
(Online Advertiser)
NORTON FINANCE COMPANY (NFC)

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

mig-design.com fraudulent job offer

A straightforward pitch for what is probably a money mule operation.

Subject: Looking for a job? More info here
From: "Shirley Schafer" boss@adabillur.com

Greetings,

If you are still looking for a well-paid part time job (2-4 hours a day) with possible full-time promotion opportunities at one of top-echelon Management Companies, please e-mail your resume/CV or a short description of your former activities.

Use ONLY corporative e-mail address below for all further correspondence:
office@mig-design.com

Necessary information concerning working and cooperation opportunities, financial benefits and advantages is sent by your request.

Yours faithfully,
Recruiting Office,
MIG Management and Design

Let's look at mig-design.com.. actually, don't - it's never a good idea to poke at spamvertised sites unless you know what you are doing. There's not much to see apart from a snazzy logo saying "MIG International Design Group".

The logo has clearly been professionally designed. But it also appears to have been stolen from this site although amusingly the spammers have corrected the obvious spelling error.

Let's check out the WHOIS details:

Name : Michell
Organization : Michell
Address : 56/2 Sun str.
City : Dallas
Province/State : beijing
Country :
Postal Code : 85230
Phone Number : 86--56343365
Fax : 86--56343365
Email : Michell.Gregory2009@yahoo.com


A quick Google search for that email address shows several hits.. indeed, it has been used before for the luxgroupnz.com scam.

The IP address of the site is 61.150.91.136 in China and usually in these circumstances it is safe to assume that ALL sites on the same server are suspect:

  • Bsi-investment.com
  • Bsibanksingapore.com
  • Ckinter.cn
  • Ckinter.ru
  • Freeadulttube.com.cn
  • Importfinanceinc.com
  • Intdgroup.com
  • Lloydsinsurer.com
  • Luxgroupww.com
  • Majordesigngroup.net
  • Medikmenty.com
  • Mens-health.com.cn
  • Mig-design.com
  • Mig-disign.com
  • Teentube.com.cn
  • Vsehorosho.info
  • W-trabajo.com
  • Wploy-empleo.com
  • Wtrabajo.com
In this case the email originates from 117.197.0.23 in India.

A flashy logo does not mean that it's a legitimate site. In this case the spammers have just ripped off someone else's identity. Avoid.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Phorm Whitewash

The British government's stance on Phorm has always been pretty supine. Despite serious allegation of criminal misconduct by Phorm and BT, the Government has again decided to whitewash the issue after politely ignoring the latest anti-phorm petition.

Thank you for the e-petition on internet advertising technologies and customer privacy.

As your petition states, some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have been looking at the use of Phorm’s Webwise and Open Internet Exchange (OIX) products. However, the only use of the technology so far has been the trials conducted by BT.

Advertisers and ISPs need to ensure that they comply with all relevant data protection and privacy laws. It is also important that consumers’ privacy is protected and that they are given sufficient information and opportunity to make a clear and informed decision whether to participate in services such as Phorm.

The Government is committed to ensuring that people’s privacy is fully protected. Legislation is in place for this purpose and is enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). ICO looked at this technology, to ensure that any use of Phorm or similar technology is compatible with the relevant privacy legislation. ICO has published its view on Phorm on its website:

[link]

ICO is an independent body, and it would not be appropriate for the Government to second guess its decisions. However, ICO has been clear that it will be monitoring closely all progress on this issue, and in particular any future use of Phorm’s technology. They will ensure that any such future use is done in a lawful, appropriate and transparent manner, and that consumers’ rights are fully protected.
In other words - private companies unlawfully spying on citizens is no concern of the government.

Conspiracy theorist like to point out that Phorm's web monitoring technology is exactly the sort of thing that the government wants to do. Fortunately, it looks like Phorm is perhaps on their last legs after launch of this bizarre foaming-at-the-mouth blog that they started recently.

The government's complete disdain for British citizens is astonishing, and will probably be reflected in a humiliating result in next month's European and local elections. But then if voting really changed anything, this government probably would make it illegal.

Monday, 18 May 2009

NameOrange / nameorange.com scam

Another variant of this scam and this scam linked to a guy called Manuel Fichter - the basic pitch is that you get an email offering to buy your domain name which lists a number of "approved" domain appraisers, the one that appears to be cheapest is actually run by the scammer.



Avoid this one. If you live in Canada and believe that you have been defrauded, then contact your local RCMP and make a complaint about:

Manuel Fichter
38 Matthew Drive
Hammonds Plains, NS B4B 1T8
Canada

martuz.cn injection attack

In the past couple of weeks, thousands of websites were hit with an injection attack pointing to gumblar.cn.. this week it has changed to martuz.cn. It's not a SQL injection attack as far as I can tell, the smart money is that it is using compromised FTP credentials, possibly harvested from end-user PCs rather than a problem with the web server itself.

A typical attack is that JS files on the victim's server are altered with an obfuscated (i.e. partly encrypted) script which might vector through martuz.cn/vid/?id=5718066 or martuz.cn/vid/?id=575730 or something similar, then leading to martuz.cn/vid/?id=3 or another similarly named page (the exact URLs may vary depending on the client software).

There's a writeup about martuz.cn here and here, in the meantime blocking traffic to the domain and the IP address 95.129.145.58 will probably be a good idea.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

419ers hit by the downturn?

A strangely worded 419 scam arrived today in a format I haven't seen before. Perhaps the economic downturn is having an effect on the supply of gullible people?

Subject: THAT IS ALL I CAN DO FOR YOU
From: "RICHARD GOZNEY" bhcommission1@mail2consultant.com
Date: Tue, May 12, 2009 6:56 pm

BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION
DANGOTE HOUSE,
AGUYI IRONSI STREET, MAITAMA DISTRICT,
ABUJA,NIGERIA..
TEL: +234-8039672472


Attention

After long silence from you we came to realize that you may have given up your compensation due to lack of money for the Certificates.

I have been able to settle for the Certificates which amounts to US$1800 so i expect you to pay me back once you receive your card.

You have to reconfirm your delivery address for the EMS courier company to mail your ATM card to you without delay. Note that you are entitled to settle for their safe keeping fee of $250.

Make haste to send down your address and i shall provide you with the information of their cashier for you to send the safe keeping fee of $250 to her.
I am looking forward to your immediate response.

Yours in Service,

Mr. Richard Gozney

Despite the Nigerian address the email originates from 200.7.198.3 in Ecuador, although the phone number is definitely Nigerian and has been used for this type of scam many times before.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

"Western Union Transfer MTCN: 2474153681" trojan

Another EXE-in-ZIP trojan, this time disguised as an Excel spreadsheet. The pitch is:

Subject: Western Union Transfer MTCN: 2474153681
From: "Western Union Support Team" support@westernunion.com
Date: Tue, May 12, 2009 11:00 pm

Dear Customer!

The money transfer you have sent on the 22nd of April was not collected by the
recipient.
According to the Western Union contract the transfers which are not received in 15
days are to be returned to sender.
To collect cash you need to print the invoice attached to this email and visit the
nearest Western Union agency.

Thank you!
In this case there was an attachment called Invoice_8773.zip containing a file named Invoice_8773.exe. Because of the really stupid way that Windows (by default) hides the file extensions and the fact that the bad guys have given this executable a convincing icon, it will look something like this when unzipped:

VirusTotal identifies is as a variant of Zbot, the ThreatExpert prognosis has more details in case you are trying to clean it up.

If you can block EXE-in-ZIP files at your mail perimeter, then that is always the best defence against this kind of attack.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Michael Price / BizSummits.org unsolicited bulk email

I've had a few of these in the past, but this time my spidey sense was tingling.

Subject: Roger, Website discussion on April 21st.
From: "Pat Weller" pat@mktgalliance.org
Date: Mon, May 11, 2009 1:49 pm

Hi Roger, let me know if you might be interested in attending our
upcoming program, "Does Your Website Produce the Results You Want? How to
Drive Conversions by Writing Better Content" on Monday, April 27th. You
can view the complete details at www.mktgalliance.org/webconversations

Businesses of all sizes can benefit greatly from these ideas that have
proven to work based on experiences with hundreds of websites. Thomas
Young, Internet Marketing Consultant and CEO with Intuitive Websites,
will be making the presentation. He will review conversion strategies,
effective taglines, using captions on photos, how to avoid blocks of text,
bullet items in web copy, how to avoid brochure copy and marketing-speak,
calls to action and more. I hope you and your team will join us.

Best regards,

Pat Weller
Program Director
Marketing Alliance
600 North Park Centre
Seventeenth Floor
Mail back to decline further
Atlanta, GA 30328
www.mktgalliance.org/webconversations


Well, I'm not called "Roger" and I can't quite figure out where that came from. The email came from 66.232.113.10 which is the same IP as mktgalliance.org, so that really confirms it as genuine.

A look at the WHOIS details are interesting:

BizSummits
Michael Price (MPrice@BizSummits.org)
+1.8006003389
Fax:
1200 Abernathy Rd, 17th Floor
Atlanta, GA 30328
US

Alright, ten points for having (apparently) genuine contact details (it matches their BBB report), minus several million points for blasting out unsolicited emails to random addresses.

Is it spam? Well, it's certainly unsolicited commercial email and in this case it was sent to an email address that didn't actually exist. Annoyingly, it could well be CAN SPAM compliant. But it falls within the scope of the Boulder Pledge so best avoided.

Here are some other domains associated with BizSummits:
  • mybizteleseminars.net
  • customerservicesummit.net
  • theopsbenchmarkalliance.com
  • associationgrowthsummit.net
  • mktgalliance.org
DavesPlanet.net has more information here, the Other Librarian blog indicates that it has been going on for years here, and a Google Search shows just how widespread these unsolicited emails are. Do you really want to do business with a company like this?

Underwater mobile phone

Need a phone that works under water? Well, the Samsung B2100 Solid Extreme does. But as they used to say on TV.. "kids, don't try this at home".


Friday, 1 May 2009

webmail.upgrade@spamcop.net phish

A fairly lazy attempt to phish SpamCop accounts, originating from 200.85.160.12 in Nicaragua. If you're a SpamCop subscriber, then report it via the usual mechanism. The Reply-To address is webmailupgrader@consultant.com, so you should be able to tell that it is a fake.

Subject: Spamcop Email Verification
From: "Spamcop Webmail Notice" webmail.upgrade@spamcop.net
Date: Fri, May 1, 2009 5:11 pm
To: webmail.upgrade@spamcop.net

Dear Spamcop Webmail Account Owner,
We are currently performing maintenance for Our Spamcop
Digital Webmail Customers.We intend upgrading our Digital
Webmail Security Server for better online services. We are
canceling unused Spamcop webmail email account to create
more space for new accounts.To prevent your account from
closing you will have to update it below to know it's status
as a currently used account.

CONFIRM YOUR EMAIL IDENTITY BELOW
Email Username :=====================================
Email Password :=====================================
Date of Birth :======================================

Warning!!! Any account owner that refuses to update his/her
webmail account within three (3) days of this update
notification will loose his/her account permanently.

Thank You For Your Support

Friday, 24 April 2009

"WorldPay CARD transaction Confirmation" (again)

A repeat of a trojan spam run from a few months ago ,this fake "WorldPay CARD transaction Confirmation" email comes with a nasty payload.

Subject: WorldPay CARD transaction Confirmation
Date: Fri, April 24, 2009 5:28 pm

Thank you!

Your transaction has been processed by WorldPay, on behalf of Amazon Inc.
The invoice file is attached to this message.
This is not a tax receipt.
We processed your payment.
Amazon Inc has received your order,
and will inform you about delivery.
Sincerely,
Amazon Team

This confirmation only indicates that your transaction has been processed
successfully.
It does not indicate that your order has been accepted.
It is the responsibility of Amazon Inc to confirm that
your order has been accepted, and to deliver any goods or services you have ordered.
In this case there was a ZIP file called WorldPay_NR9712.zip (the filename may vary) with an executable in named WorldPay_NR9712.exe. When unzipped it looks a bit like a Windows Help file.

Detection rates are very poor, with only Microsoft flagging it up as something specific (PWS:Win32/Zbot.M). The ThreatExpert prognosis also indicates that it is malware (by the way, if you are dealing with an infected machine the ThreatExpert report can help you clean it up).

If you can, it is always a good idea to block EXE-in-ZIP attachments at the perimeter.

"IBC Group" fake job offer

There are lots of wholly legitimate firms called "IBC Group" or something similar. This one claims to be an "international business consultancy".. and yet they are using a free Google Mail address rather than a corporate one. It is just another money mule scam, although the 5% fee they are offering is surprisingly low (of course, this is stolen money so all you will end up with is a jail sentence).

Subject: Business
Date: Fri, April 24, 2009 12:29 pm

Dear SMALL BUSINESS OWNER
We are being a private international business consultancy (IBC GROUP) striving hard to perform the best to achieve optimal results in gaining efficiency of our client’s ventures. In this global economy crash time we turn to alternative solutions for our clients from Eastern Europe who are obliged to pay off US or Western Europe originated transfer taxes, which at times may be as much as 35%.
Therefore, we are raising up this appeal to those small business owners who have both desire and possibility to stand up as our partners and who may use their business accounts to operate internal transactions for their further remittance to our clients . As being held on a larger scale, your personal benefit will be 5% off every payment posted to your account (or company’s). It may become a considerable upgrade for you and your company.
If this comes up your alley, please, come back for details by: Katherin.Mills@gmail.com

with the following:
First Name:
Last Name:
Country:
State:
City:
Phone (Landline):
Phone (CELL):
Email:

Thank you in advance,
IBC GROUP.


Originating IP is 88.242.82.65 in Turkey.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Russian / Italian spam

One of the major hurdles that spammers and scammers face is language. A typical eastern bloc scammer usually won't be able to speak any language like a native other than their own, and a poorly worded pitch is often an obvious sign of a scam.

Machine translations rarely make sense, and the best translators are always native speakers of that language. So, a professional fraud crew will often try to recruit linguistic experts to give their message more of an edge.

In this case, the spammers are trying to recruit someone who speaks Italian and presumably Russian. That's a target audience of around 60 to 70 million people who might well fall for an Italian language scam.

В наше бюро переводов требуются специалисты по итальянскому языку.
Если Вам нужен дополнительный заработок (~1000$ в месяц) - эта вакансия для Вас!
Ездить и ходить - никуда не нужно! Достаточно просто иметь доступ к интернету и телефон!
Никаких финансовых вложений с вашей стороны не нужно! И это не тендер!

Если Вам все еще интересно наше предложение - просто кратко ответьте на следующие
вопросы:
1. Имя
2. Город проживания
3. Где обучались языку и на каком уровне им владеете.

Наш e-mail: lONicholsonbronze@gmail.com

После этого в течении некоторого времени мы обязательно свяжемся с Вами!

Всего хорошего, надеемя на долгое сотрудничество!
This translates approximately to:

We need specialists to provide translations to the Italian language. If you need additional income (about $1000 per month) - this position is for you! You do not need to drive or walk anywhere! You just need to have access to the Internet and a telephone.

If you are interested in our offer - just briefly answer the following questions:
1. Name
2. City of residence
3. Where did you learn the language and how proficient are you.

Out email is: [random Gmail account]

After this we will contact you in a short while.

Have a good time, hoping for a long cooperation!

Our samples originate from ADSL and dial-up subscribers in Turkey and India. The Gmail address is different in each one.

Don't be tempted by an unsolicited "job offer" like this. You are extremely unlikely to be paid, and you could end up in serious trouble with the police.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

"August Insurance USA" scam

Another fraudulent job offer, this time originating from 190.43.155.148 in Peru. It doesn't really matter what the exact fraud is, this could well be a "back office" operation. But it's a scam nonetheless. Avoid.

Subject: Good vacancy August Insurance USA.
Date: Tue, April 21, 2009 12:07 am
Priority: High

College degree but not enough experience?

Responsible for managing the day to day operations of various facilities to ensure the operations,
maintenance, and vendor management standards of the contract are met in a cost effective, safe and efficient manner.

Requirements
Candidates must possess the following:

- Effective interpersonal skills & communication skills
- Demonstrated leadership and team building abilities
- Self-confidence, flexibility and a positive attitude
- U.S. work authorization

Selected individuals will be trained to enhance leadership and networking skills in
preparation for an executive role within our company.

Compensation based solely on personal performance. For immediate consideration
please contact.

All positions will be filled immediately due to our recent expansion.

You may email your resume in Word to: CHmayHooper@gmail.com
Needless to say, don't send 'em anything. And if you have agreed to "work" for them, demand some verifiable proof that they exist.

Monday, 20 April 2009

barefootsies.com: possible Joe Job.

The Waledac gang strike again with an uncharacteristic spam advertising a foot fetish site.

From: [redacted]
Sent: 19 April 2009 22:53
To: [redacted]
Subject: Free foot fetish pics

Amatuer, girl-girl feet tickling movies, and foot worship movies at http://barefootsies.com/
Spammers sending out links to porn sites is not exactly big news. Except in this case, the registrant and the hosting server is identical the the blizzardimagehosting.com spam run from a few days ago. What's more, the WHOIS details for barefootsies.com appear to be valid.

Studios, First Choice
1st Choice Studios
6741 Sprinkle Rd, Ste 293
Portage, Michigan 49002
United States
2694929957 Fax --

It turns out that this domain is for sale along with some others.

But, as the the blizzardimagehosting.com run, this doesn't exactly fit into the usual Waledac approach and it could well be a Joe Job attack.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Waledac: freeservesms.com

Waledac is pretty common these days, and it usually tries to point the victim to a fake video codec that is actually a trojan, often through a sensational "news" headline or the promise of nudity.

This particular pitch promises something quite different:
Do you want to test your partner or just to read somebody's SMS? This program is exactly what you need then!
It's so easy! You don't need to install it at the mobile phone of your partner.
Just download the program and you will able to read all SMS when you are online.
Be aware of everything! This is an extremely new service!


The download file is called smstrap.exe. So this magical piece of software can read someone else's SMS messages without having to install software on the phone, right? Wrong.. it's just another variant of the Waledac trojan (see the VirusTotal results, ThreatExpert prognosis).

In this case the domain in use is freeservesms.com although it is likely that there will be others. For the records, the WHOIS details are:

Domain Name : freeservesms.com

Registrant Contact Information :
SHANGGUANMING
GONGYUWUYEYOUXIANGONGSI
jongchangde@126.com
QIANJIN, 2005451
tel:
fax:

Administrative Contact Information :
SHANGGUANMING
GONGYUWUYEYOUXIANGONGSI
jongchangde@126.com
QIANJIN, 2005451
tel:
fax:

Technical Contact Information :
SHANGGUANMING
GONGYUWUYEYOUXIANGONGSI
jongchangde@126.com
QIANJIN, 2005451
tel:
fax:

Billing Contact Information :
SHANGGUANMING
GONGYUWUYEYOUXIANGONGSI
jongchangde@126.com
QIANJIN, 2005451
tel:
fax:

Status :
clientDeleteProhibited
clientTransferProhibited

Domain Name Server :
ns1.moneymedal.com
ns2.moneymedal.com
ns3.moneymedal.com
ns4.moneymedal.com
ns5.moneymedal.com
ns6.moneymedal.com

Registration Date :2009-4-13
Expiration Date : 2010-4-13
Added: downloadfreesms.com is punting the same malware.


Wednesday, 15 April 2009

"Yadu Investment Co., Ltd." / ntwifinetwork.com / tech-wifi.com

This email (supposedly from a Chinese domain registrar) follows a well-worn path of trying to sell useless names to owners of existing dot coms.

From: Joy [mailto:Joy@ntwifinetwork.com]
Sent: 10 April 2009 07:47
To: [redacted]
Subject: Notice of Intellectual Property Protection

Dear Sir/Madam: 2009-4-10

We are a domain name registration service company in Asia,
Last week we received a formal application submited by “Yadu Investment Co., Ltd.” Which wanted to use the keyword " [redacted]" to register the Internet Brand and with suffix such as .cn /.com.cn /.net.cn/.hk/ .asia/ domain names.
After our initial examination, we found that these domain names to be applied for registration are same as your domain name and trademark. We aren’t sure whether you have any relation with this company. Because these domain names would produce possible dispute, now we have hold down this registration, but if we do not get your company’s an reply in the next 5 working days, we will approve his application
In order to handle this issue better, Please contact us by Fax ,Telephone or Email as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

Joy

Checking Department


Tel: 86 513 8532 2060
Fax: 86 513 8532 2065
Email :Joy@ntwifinetwork.com
Website: www.ntwifinetwork.com
Mail No.: [redacted]

Registrars DO NOT check trademarks before registrations (the exception is "sunrise registrations" for completely new top-level domains). This is an attempt to get you to buy an overpriced domain name that you don't need.

This mail may come from twifinetwork.com, tech-wifi.com or other domains, the domains are hosted on 174.138.60.95, some of the wording is lifted from asiaregistry.com although it is not possible to tell if they are affiliated.

If you are concerned about securing these domains, then most registrars now deal in Asian TLDs and can register them for you, else you are probably same to ignore it.

btw, the pitch is not new and has been used here, here and here.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Tropicalnames.com scam

tropicalnames.com is the new name for the pedma.com domain appraisal scam. The basic pitch is that you get an unsolicited offer for a domain name, along with a list of recognised appraisal companies. The cheapest company is controlled by the scammers who sent the email (apparently operating out of Canada).

Domain was registered on 3rd April 2008 with anonymised details and is hosted on 124.217.231.173 in Malaysia. If you get one of these, treat it as spam and file a complaint with abuse -at- piradius.net.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

"Mikeyy Mooney" / StalkDaily.com - someone is lying

The rules of spam are a semi-humorous and semi-serious look at the behavior of spammers.

Well, one hot spam topic is the recent StalkDaily.com XSS attack on Twitter. This cross-site attack basically spams out ads via a victim's contact list, and although it is arguable if this is "hacking", it certainly is spamming.

So, let's look at the "rules of spam" and how they apply in this case.

Rule #0: Spam is theft.
Using Twitter's services to send spam is theft. But perhaps the main financial cost to Twitter is that this kind of rubbish will put people of using the service. Of course, Twitter doesn't actually seem to make any money, but that's another issue..

Rule #1: Spammers lie.
So, when the spam attack took place, some people must have started to make complaints about StalkDaily.com, a domain registered on 22nd March to an anonymous registrant. The owner of StalkDaily.com responded as follows:

For everyone wondering, I did NOT promote and/or was involved with the spamming ON Twitter. All bad things you are hearing about this site is not true. Please reconsider as I am not the person who did this.
So, that clearly states that StalkDaily.com is not behind the XSS attack. So what's going on? Is it a Joe Job? Here's the odd thing.. Joe Jobs normally target established sites (not one less than a month old), and why waste an XSS exploit like this on a Joe Job when Twitter will probably close it?

We didn't have to wait long for an answer:

I have came clean and have accepted the responsibility for the worm, read the interview here, http://www.bnonews.com/news/242.html.

That's kind of 100% different from the last denial. The operator of StalkDaily.com is clearly lying about something, perhaps everything.

Rule #2: If a spammer seems to be telling the truth, see Rule #1.
As we have discovered, StalkDaily.com's denial was proved to be a lie. Or perhaps there denial is a lie. In any case, you should not do business with liars or spammers.

Rule #3: Spammers are stupid.
And this dude is as stupid as they get. Sure, stupid in a very smart kind of way.. but the kind of stupid that doesn't thing what the consequences might be.

Rule #4: The natural course of a spamming business is to go bankrupt.
I can hear the sound of Twitter lawyering up. Hahahah.


The StalkDaily.com website points to a pseudo-news article at BNOnews fingering someone called "Mikeyy Mooney". And there's a large collection of material relating to "Mikeyy Mooney" at sqworl. But is it really "Mikeyy Mooney"? The admission itself comes from whoever operaters StalkDaily.com.. and we have already established that they are a liar. The sqworl documents point to someone in Louisiana.. the BNOnews article says New York. Last time I looked at a map, these were two different places.

Perhaps a closer look at StalkDaily.com's server might be interesting. 74.200.253.195 hosts the following domains:

  • Haxyou.com
  • Michangelomooney.com
  • Stalkdaily.com
Wait.. Michangelo? Is this guy a teenage mutant ninja turtle?

Most of these sites have anonymous WHOIS details, except for Haxyou.com which is registered to some guy called Ryan who appears to be a distinctly different biological entity.

This is the bottom line - the operator of StalkDaily.com is a liar. They may even be lying that they are "Mikeyy Mooney." Perhaps Twitter can do us all a favour and subpoena the domain records before suing this idiot into the ground.

"Body parts" murder II

The gruesome body parts murder has a new installment with the discovery of a fifth body part, quite near to some of the others. You can see a the distribution of finds on Google Maps.

This adds another element to the data set. The route between points "A" and "B" is curious and uses a lot of back roads, if that IS the route. Clearly these grisly finds have a pattern, but can they be traced back to the origin?

Thursday, 9 April 2009

"Body parts" murder

One mystery gripping this part of the UK is the mysterious "body parts" murder, where part of a dismembered victim have been left near the roadside in several locations: Wheathampstead, Puckeridge and Cottered in Hertfordshire and the head was dumped in Asfordby, Leicestershire.

Given that the Puckeridge part was reportedly left by the northbound carriageway, that gives a clue as the the direction that the "dumper" was travelling. And making an assumption that the head was the last part to be dumped because it was the furthest away from the others, then you can take these four data points and plot them into Google Maps.

You can see more here. Of course, speculation is just that, but if does appear that the dumper did a loop around Hertfordshire perhaps near the A414, A10, A507 and then drove up the A1 for about an hour before turning off. Yes, there's a technology aspect here - a tool like Google Maps makes it very easy to visualise this sort of data.

OK, this is all pretty gruesome and don't forget that someone has lost their life. But there's a grim fascination as to where the next discovery will be. Will that fit into the pattern?

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

secretdesiresuk.com spam

Yuck.

Subject: SecretDesires - The Ultimate Social Networking for Singles and Couples
From: "Secret Desires"
Date: Wed, April 8, 2009 5:25 pm

Are you a couple or single looking for FUN??

Worldwide Coverage with Audio and Video Cam Chat Rooms!

Virtual Kisses and Profile Voting!

Profile Pictures and Videos!

Massive Video Database growing Daily!

Come and Enjoy the Ride!!

You must add at least one valid profile picture to remain a FREE member!!

Secret Desires - What's Yours??
Originating IP is 78.145.126.63, secretdesiresuk.com is hosted on 174.132.193.251. The domain is registered to HostGator rather than the actual registrants, who are..


Debbie 'n' Paul. They say: "SecretDesiresUK is the culmination of 3 years of false starts and hard work by Debbie and Paul, of Orion Network Designs. We are both Swingers and have worked in the Adult Industry long enough to understand exactly what people want from an Adult Social Networking Site."

What? Like spam?

Let's log in. No confirmation of email address is needed. Bad luck Mr President.

67 members. And yes, the photograph gallery shows plenty of "members". Including some nudie shots of Debbie 'n' Paul. Yuk.

I'm not prudish, and frankly I believe that consenting adults should be able to get on with whatever they want to in private. But spamming this crap out at random is just going to get the wrong kind of attention.

If you get one of these, forward the email to security -at- hostgator.com.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

luxgroupnz.com / LuxGroup scam

There are lots of legitimate ocmpanies with the name LuxGroup or Lux Group or something similar. This particular fake "LuxGroup" uses the domain luxgroupnz.com to push some sort of fraudulent job offer, probably a money mule or some other criminal activity.

Subject: A better career with LuxGroup

Good Day,

Major International Company is ready to offer you part(1-2 hours a day) and full time(5-8 hours per day) job in the USA. If you are interested, get back to us by email and send your resume or a short description of your former activities. Excellent career growth perspectives and merited salary.

For more info about terms, conditions and financial remuneration, get back ONLY to our corporative email address below: advjob@luxgroupnz.com

With regards,
Lux Group, Hiring Department
The luxgroupnz.com domain was registered on April 1st 2009 through XIN NET TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION to:

Name : Michell
Organization : Michell
Address : 56/2 Sun str.
City : Dallas
Province/State : beijing
Country :
Postal Code : 85230
Phone Number : 86--56343365
Fax : 86--56343365
Email : Michell.Gregory2009@yahoo.com

Site is hosted on 222.73.37.250, name services are proved by NS1.CHOSTSERVICE.COM and NS2.CHOSTSERVICE.COM. Other domains hosted on that server are:

  • A-finance.net
  • A-finance.org
  • Aiminfo.info
  • Careertrip.cn
  • Danunafig.ru
  • Dessgif.com
  • Hot-jobster.cn
  • I-love-pets.ru
  • Icm-mail.biz
  • Icm-network.net
  • Isearchword.info
  • Itellu.info
  • Itellu.ru
  • Lastyp.ru
  • Mountain-travel.ru
  • Mycotteges.ru
  • Oceananswers.info
  • Oceanofsearches.info
  • Pinigeliai.com
  • Temp-biz.cn
  • U-search.info
  • Yadrenamat.ru
  • Yaponamat.ru
Some of these other domains have also been used for fraudulent offers.

If you get one of these ignore it.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Hostfresh dead?

Sandi reports that Hostfresh has been de-peered, the latest organized criminal web host to be removed from the interwebs.

This Hong-Kong based outfit provided the back end hosting for malware infections including early versions of Conficker. It has been increasing apparent that they are basically an outpost of the Russian Business Network.

Hostfresh-hosted domains have scattered, but it probably won't be long until they find another RBN-friendly host that doesn't know what happened to Atrivo, McCole, Ukrtelegroup and Estdomains.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

BlizzardImageHosting.com - possible Joe Job

We have an email trap that seems to be hit exclusively by a low number of Waledac related spam (fake "terror reports", pharma spam, penis enlargement etc). We know that this particular address was harvested from a compromised PC, so the only people who have the address are the Bad Guys.

Unexpectedly then, the following email turned up:

From: (removed)
Sent: 01 April 2009 20:33
To: (removed)
Subject: Free Image Hosting

BlizzardImageHosting.com is a new leader in online image & photo hosting,
portfolios, and slideshow creation. We offer features you wont find
at other image hosting sites and we offer it FOR FREE!

- Upload Unlimited Images
- Share Images With Anyone and Anywhere
- Get Gigabytes of Monthly Bandwidth

and much more...

Sign up now!
http://blizzardimagehosting.com/index.php

(c) 2003-2009 Blizzard Image Hosting All Rights Reserved

So, my initial thoughts were that blizzardimagehosting.com were in league with the bad guys. Let's check out their WHOIS details:

Marquee, Media Networks webmaster -at- marqueemediaonline.com
Marquee Media Networks
6741 Sprinkle Road, Ste 293
Portage
MI
49002
US
Phone: +1.2694929957
Fax: +1.2694929958
The address is actually a branch of PakMail, but that probably means in this case that Marquee Media Networks rents a post box. The WHOIS details for marqueemediaonline.com indicate a name of Christopher Maher. So do these WHOIS details look suspicious? Not really. Usually, Waledac related domains come with WHOIS details that indicate telltale traces in China or Russia, the details for blizzardimagehosting.com are not inherently suspicious.

Marquee Media operates a web server at 216.17.107.72, which contains an ill-advised mix of adult sites and general interest sites (porn sites and fishing on the same server?) all the WHOIS details are consistent, and there seems to be nothing illegal going on.

Here's the thing - nothing at all about blizzardimagehosting.com fits the Waledac profile. This seems to be a small business running out of Illinois, nothing more. At a best guess, Marquee Media has somehow displeased the Waledac gang, either through something to do with adult content or web hosting.

So.. if you get a spam for blizzardimagehosting.com then treat it with scepticism, and as far as I am concerned this company is probably not guilty of this spam run and instead it looks like a Joe Job.

Friday, 27 March 2009

"Shanghai QiPeng Network Information Technology" / "Sopper Investment Co. LTD"

This particular pitch has been around for a long time - a domain name registrar (or reseller) who is "checking" about a domain registration that might infringe on your trademarks. Of course, registrars are not responsible for checking trademarks (can you imagine how complicated and expensive the process would be!)

Usually this approach is an attempt to get you to register useless domain names at inflated prices.. and in all probability these domain names they are warning about will never even be registered. If you really are concerned, then register them through a reputable registrar, else you are best off ignoring it.

Subject: Domain Issues for "[redacted]"
From: "Ramon zhang"
Date: Fri, March 27, 2009 9:20 am

If you are not the person who is in charge of this, please forward to the right person/department. Thank you)

Dear CEO,

We , a registrar organization in China, have something to check with you. We received an application today One South Korea company called " Sopper Investment Co. LTD" is applying for "[redacted]" as internet brand and following Asian/.CN domain names to use.
[redacted].com.tw
[redacted].hk
[redacted].in
[redacted].net.cn
[redacted].org.cn
[redacted].tw

After our initial checking, we found the internet brand and keyword of these domain names are as same as your company¡¯s.Because of it involves your company's intellectual property, so we need to check this with your company. If the aforesaid company is your subsidiary company or your business partner, please DO NOT reply us, we will approve the application automatically. If you have no any relationship with this company, please contact us within 7 workdays. If out of the deadline, we will approve the application submitted by "Sopper Investment Co. LTD" unconditionally.
Look forwarding to hearing from you.Thanks.

Best Regards,

Ramon Zhang
Leader Checker
Shanghai QiPeng Network Information Technology Co.,Ltd
Tel£º +86-21-6992-9440 Fax£º +86-21-6992-9447

Postal Code£º 200063
website:http://www.qipeng.org.cn


Shanghai QPNIC Web Property Solutions Limited is a comprehensive company engaged in the Internet intellectual property services that mainly provides network-based service, network intellectual property service.
Company objective: The good faith first, the customer is supreme.

The same approach can be seen here and here.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

dns@nisource.com Joe Job

NiSource is a US electricity and gas provider. This spam appears to be a Joe Job aimed at the DNS support mailbox at that company. In this case the originating IP is 166.156.53.33.

From: Mabel Mcdaniel [mailto:dns@nisource.com]
Sent: 26 March 2009 14:55
To: [redacted]
Subject: Replica Watches

A lot of brands, 100-300 usd.
Mail to order: dns@nisource.com

Since the email is soliciting replies via email, it is most likely a revenge attack for something or other.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Video: Beware of the Monkeys

Don't give the monkeys a socket set (source: IET)

songmeanings.net compromised?

songmeanings.net is a popular and relatively crud-free lyrics site that attracts millions of visitors a year. Alexa ranks it as about the 5000th most popular site in the world (dynamoo.com ranks in at about 290,000).

Unfortunately, the email database at songmeanings.net appears to have been compromised and the email addresses are now receiving "Canadian Pharmacy" spam routed via spaces.live.com. It is unknown if any other details have been taken, in all likelihood this is probably a trojan that has taken email addresses only.

(They are not the only one. Tradedoubler is an advertising network that has been similarly compromised).

Pozde.com domain valuation scam

A copy of the recent Pedma.com domain appraisal scam, this time with the name pozde.com. The pitch is something similar to the following:

Dear sir,

we are interested to buy your domain name [REDACTED] and offer to buy it from you for 70% of the appraised market value.

As of now we accept appraisals from either one of the following leading appraisal companies:

sedo.com
pozde.com
moniker.com
accuratedomains.com

If you already have an appraisal please forward it to us.

As soon as we have received your appraisal we will send you our payment (we use Paypal for amounts less than $2,000 and escrow.com for amounts above $2,000) as well as further instructions on how to complete the transfer of the domain name.

We appreciate your business,

Thanks,

P. Jackson
Pozde.com is the fake appraisal site, and because it is cheaper than the others (which are legitimate) there's a chance you will try to use it. Although this time they have remembered to give you a box to specify your domain (they didn't with the old version), you should be under no doubt that this is an attempt to defraud.

The WHOIS entry for pozde.com is a crude fake:

Registrant:
Richard Smith
563 queen st
bruckberg, er 54767
Iceland

Domain Name: POZDE.COM
Created on: 19-Nov-08
Expires on: 19-Nov-09
Last Updated on: 20-Mar-09

Administrative Contact:
Smith, Richard admin@bizing.biz
563 queen st
bruckberg, er 54767
Iceland
+1.9024312570 Fax --

Technical Contact:
Smith, Richard admin@bizing.biz
563 queen st
bruckberg, er 54767
Iceland
+1.9024312570 Fax --

Domain servers in listed order:
NS1.IPNAMES.NET
NS2.IPNAMES.NET
In fact, it is actually registered to:

Registrant:
Manuel Fichter
38 Matthew Drive
Hammonds Plains, NS B4B 1T8
Canada

Domain Name: POZDE.COM
Created on: 19-Nov-08
Expires on: 19-Nov-09
Last Updated on: 05-Mar-09

Administrative Contact:
Fichter, Manuel admin@bizing.biz
38 Matthew Drive
Hammonds Plains, NS B4B 1T8
Canada
9024312570 Fax --

Technical Contact:
Fichter, Manuel admin@bizing.biz
38 Matthew Drive
Hammonds Plains, NS B4B 1T8
Canada
9024312570 Fax --
You should also consider the domains tysoo.com (recently bought by Manuel Fichter) and dexpay.com as suspect, because it seems that there is a pattern emerging here.

So why is it a scam? Pedma.com was definitely a scam - when you sent off your PayPal payment there was no way to specify what you wanted appraising, the fact that Pozde.com has added this in is immaterial. The WHOIS entry is fake (the registrant is in Canada, not Iceland).

Site is hosted on 124.217.231.173 in Kuala Lumpur. Send abuse reports to abuse -at- piradius.net.

If you feel that you have been defrauded and you live in Canada, you can file a complaint with the RCMP.

Added: some other domains to watch out for, owned by the same person are:

  • veecs.com
  • grooc.com
  • usbabes.info
  • tysoo.com (being transferred)
  • dexpay.com
  • bizing.biz
  • fastbooster.com
  • moviesforme.org
  • casinocrew.com

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

pedma.com domain appraisals?

From time-to-time I get a unsolicited offers to buy domains that I hold, so it isn't wholly unexpected to get the occasional email about them. Here's one that came in today:

Subject: Regarding your domain [REDACTED].COM
From: "James Johnson" j.johnson98@rocketmail.com

Hello,
I came across your domain name [REDACTED]COM and I would be interested in buying it from you.
Here is my offer, you have to send me a professional appraisal from one of the following companies. and I will pay you 85% of the appraised price.
For payments under $2000 I prefer to use paypal. And for larger amounts of money I prefer if we used escrow.com

I accept appraisals from any of these companies:

-sedo.com
-pedma.com
-accuratedomains.com

If you already have an appraisal from one of those companies please forward it to me, and we will do business.

Regards,
James Johnson
For reference, the relevant mail headers are:

Received: from eatfire.nexcess.net (208.69.122.200)
by [redacted] with SMTP; 17 Mar 2009 10:07:22 -0000
Received: (qmail 10697 invoked by uid 108); 17 Mar 2009 10:06:16 -0000
Received: from unknown (HELO LYNKSIS) (admin@1nb0x.com@174.133.179.205)
by eatfire.nexcess.net with ESMTPA; 17 Mar 2009 10:06:16 -0000
From: "James Johnson"
Subject: Regarding your domain [redacted]
To: [redacted]
Well, my spidey sense started to tingle. The domain in question is not great and I'm really holding it for a future project that I haven't gotten around to. So I have certainly never had it professionally appraised.

So, let's say that I'm interesting in selling this domain and want to get a professional appraisal. Sedo charge $29, Accurate Domains charge $27 and Pedma charges $22.95. What's more, Pedma promises to refund your appraisal money or buy the domain itself if you don't sell it within 6 months.

Pedma looks like the best option. But who are they exactly?

Here's the thing - there is almost nothing about them in Google. It looks like they have been in the domain appraisal business for hardly any time at all. So isn't it odd that they are being recommended?

Let's look at the WHOIS details:

Registrant:
Billy McDOW
366 Kingswood Dr
Bedford, Nova Scotia B4B 1T8
Canada

Domain Name: PEDMA.COM
Created on: 01-Jul-08
Expires on: 01-Jul-09
Last Updated on: 12-Mar-09

Administrative Contact:
McDOW, Billy support@pedma.com
366 Kingswood Dr
Bedford, Nova Scotia B4B 1T8
Canada
9024950112 Fax --

Technical Contact:
McDOW, Billy support@pedma.com
366 Kingswood Dr
Bedford, Nova Scotia B4B 1T8
Canada
9024950112 Fax --

Domain servers in listed order:
NS1501.HOSTGATOR.COM
NS1502.HOSTGATOR.COM
It's hard to say if the details are genuine or not, but it certainly isn't an obvious fake. But a few days ago, pedma.com was registered to someone else:

Registrant:
Manuel Fichter
38 Matthew Drive
Hammonds Plains, NS B4B 1T8
Canada

Domain Name: PEDMA.COM
Created on: 01-Jul-08
Expires on: 01-Jul-09
Last Updated on: 05-Mar-09

Administrative Contact:
Fichter, Manuel admin@bizing.biz
38 Matthew Drive
Hammonds Plains, NS B4B 1T8
Canada
9024950112 Fax --

Technical Contact:
Fichter, Manuel admin@bizing.biz
38 Matthew Drive
Hammonds Plains, NS B4B 1T8
Canada
9024950112 Fax --

Domain servers in listed order:
DNS53-1.NEXCESS.NET
DNS53-2.NEXCESS.NET
About the same time, the IP address of pedma.com changed from 208.69.122.200 to 174.132.194.58. Now, the 208.x.x.x address was mentioned a few days ago on another blog for questionable domain practices, so you might suggest that this is not a coincidence.

The site itself seems to be free of malware, so poking around at the pedma.com site reveals a few other interesting things.

Click through to the Contact page:

The following contact details are listed:

20 Crawford Street
London
W1H 1PJ
United Kingdom

Email: support@pedma.com
It looks like this may be an accommodation address or perhaps a virtual office of some sort, probably located above a shop [sorry, IE required]. Definitely not Canada. (Update: it looks like a branch of Mail Boxes Etc thanks to Google's new UK streetview.)

Clicking through on the "Buy Now" link takes you to a PayPal page, also mentioning Canada:


The payee is "Unique Desktop". Whoever they are. This is one of the weakness of PayPal - I don't really have an idea who I am dealing with here. I don't advise that you pay them anything, indeed there is no part of the payment process that actually specified what domain you want appraising or your contact details.

A further clue that something is wrong comes from their "Service" page which contains the following text:


How much is your domain really worth? An expert evaluation of a domain name's value is critical intelligence for domain buyers and sellers looking to determine a fair market price. An appraisal is your first step to making a great sale!

Every appraisal individually researched by domain industry pros, because no software is a substitute for real-world experience.

Your domain name could be worth thousands of dollars and may even be tax deductible!

Join many others who discovered what their domains were worth using our Domain Name Appraisal Service! Your domain will be appraised based on a number of separate factors including marketability, brand recognition, unique type in traffic, and comparison with other domain name sales. In addition to the following criteria:

* TLD Value
* Length
* Hyphen
* Web Frequency
* Search Frequency
* Industry Value

After you make your first purchase we will email you your Pedma Account log in information. Once you are logged in, you will find all your domain appraisals neatly organized (including appraisal reports, and appraisal banners). We make it easy to keep track of all your appraisals!
In fact, the majority of this text is stolen directly from Sedo and Moniker - it's a straight copy-and-paste job.

So: this "appraisal" site appears to have been active for just a few days, the site content is stolen from others, the contact details on the page do not match the WHOIS, the payment process does not allow you to specify the domain to appraise and your contact details, and the IPs have recently been connected to another dubious domain name pitch.

It looks on the surface as if this is an attempt to get people to sign up for this so-called appraisal service, and nothing more. Pedma.com is certainly not a recognised or trustworthy site, so it is likely that the offer to buy the domain is similarly dubious. Of course, if you work for Pedma.com, please feel free to correct any errors in the comments section below.

If you have spent any money on the appraisal, then I would advise you to start a PayPal dispute to recover the money as there is some evidence to suggest that the original offer is not genuine.

Additional information:
a bit more research shows indicates the domain pedma.com was sold via eBay item #170253846100 in August 2008 to a member called unique*money, presumably this is Manuel Fichter.





Now, it might be that Mr Fichter sold the domain on and perhaps it is a coincidence that the new owner lives in the same area and has used exactly the same telephone number. Note that the seller "bargaindomains" is a reputable eBay seller who just sold the domain on in August.

About the London address: there is no company by the name of "Pedma" operating in the UK, according to Companies House.

The PayPal billing name of "Unique Desktop" is connected with the domain "fastbooster.com". The terse WHOIS details for that mention an email address of willyfichter@googlemail.com, but earlier last year it had a rather more full domain description:

Owner Contact:
Willy Fichter
Immo-World24 Limited
Am Soeldnermoos 17
Hallbergmoos, 85399, DE

Punycode Name: fastbooster.com
Unicode Name: fastbooster.com

Admin Contact
Willy Fichter

willyfichter@googlemail.com
Am Soeldnermoos 17
Hallbergmoos, 85399, DE
phone: +49 89381684552

Technical Contact
Hostmaster Strato Rechenzentrum
Cronon AG Professional IT-Services
hostmaster@cronon-isp.net
Emmy-Noether-Str. 10
Karlsruhe, D-76131, DE
phone: +49 72166320305

Zone Contact
Hostmaster Strato Rechenzentrum
Cronon AG Professional IT-Services
hostmaster@cronon-isp.net
Emmy-Noether-Str. 10
Karlsruhe, D-76131, DE
phone: +49 72166320305

Record expires on: 2009-05-04 20:35:24

Domain servers in listed order:

shades02.rzone.de
docks18.rzone.de

It is hard to be 100% certain who is sending out these "offers". But at a guess, one of these Mr Fichters might have an idea.

Update:
pedma.com has been suspended by HostGator. Yeay.



Another update (18/3):
The owner of pedma.com is now desperately trying to punt the domain name on Sedo for $1000, which is a bit rich considering that he ripped off Sedo's text for the fake appraisal site!


Friday, 13 March 2009

Adobe9.0-PDF.com

Here's an oddity when typing "Adobe" into Google.

The first ad refers to a web site called Adobe9.0-PDF.com - that's not Adobe, surely?


Nope.. it doesn't look like Adobe. Let's scroll down a bit


The bit at the bottom is interesting:


All tademarks and copyrights are used for comparison and/or compatibility purposes only and are the property of their respective owners. This website has no affiliation whatsoever with the owner of this software program and does not re-sell or license software. All software is freeware and/or shareware with the understanding that the user may need or want to pay for it later. Membership is for unlimited access to our site's resources. We provide an organized website with links to third party freeware and shareware software, technical support, tutorials and step by step guides.
To cut a long story short, you have to pay to download this free software (this is for "support").. of course you could just download it directly from Adobe.

So, this is kind of curious. Who's running this site? A look at the WHOIS for 0-pdf.com shows an anonymous registration, so no clue there.

The site is hosted on 208.118.54.244 along with several others:

  • 0-pdf.com
  • 1-pdf.com
  • Burning-toolz.com
  • Downzfree.com
  • E-s0ftware.com
  • Es0ftware.com
  • Freedownloadhq.com
  • Freedownloadsnow.net
  • Grafix-viewer.com
  • Internet-callz.com
  • Mediaplayer-stop.com
  • Populartitlez.com
  • Security-bundle.com
  • Virus-tools.com
  • Xtremesoftware-ltd.com
They are all anonymous registrations apart from the last one:

Registrant: Xtreme Software Ltd.
7 Petworth Road

Haslemere,
Surrey GU27 2JB

United Kingdom

Domain Name: XTREMESOFTWARE-LTD.COM
Created on: 13-Apr-07
Expires on: 13-Apr-09
Last Updated on: 13-Apr-08
Administrative Contact:
Software Ltd, Xtreme Support@XtremeSoftware-Ltd.com
Xtreme Software Ltd.
7 Petworth Road
Haslemere,
Surrey GU27 2JB
United Kingdom
8007843167 Fax --
Technical Contact: Software Ltd, Xtreme Support@XtremeSoftware-Ltd.com
Xtreme Software Ltd.

7 Petworth Road

Haslemere,
Surrey GU27 2JB

United Kingdom

8007843167 Fax --

Domain servers in listed order:

NS1.COVERTTECHNOLOGY.NET
NS3.COVERTTECHNOLOGY.NET
NS2.COVERTTECHNOLOGY.NET


Incidentally, shuffle across a few IPs to 208.118.54.247 and there seems to be another server belonging to the same outfit.
  • 11-now.com
  • 7-now.com
  • 8-now.com
  • 8-pdf.com
  • 8-software.com
  • 8-ultra.com
  • 9-express.com
  • 9-now.com
  • 9-ultra.com
  • Anti-viruz.net
  • Antiviruz-now.com
  • Avast-hq.com
  • D0wnloadz.net
  • Download-9.com
  • Downloadcenterz.com
  • Downloadzcenter.com
  • Downloadznow.net
  • Downloadzsoftware.com
  • Dvdshrink-hq.com
  • Ed0wnloads.com
  • Esoftware-now.com
  • Irfanview-center.com
  • Irfanview-hq.com
  • Mediaplayer-hq.com
  • Panda-hq.com
  • Pdf-now.com
  • Pdf-soft.net
  • Powerdvd-7.com
  • Rarsoftware.com
  • S0ftware-now.com
  • S0ftware.com
  • S0ftwarez.com
  • Software-hq.net
  • Softwarecenterz.com
  • Swhq-cs.com
  • Tutorial-hq.com
  • Winamp-hq.com
  • Winrar-hq.com
So, it looks like a UK company - and indeed Companies House lists XTREME SOFTWARE LTD (company 05604124) at being associated with that address, but states that it is dissolved. Another company, XTREME-SOFT LTD 05723281 is listed at the same address.

Company records for Xtreme Software Ltd indicate that it was forcibly dissolved, and the director was:

DIRECTOR: SHULLICK, DAVE
Appointed: 07/11/2005
Date of Birth: (redacted)
Nationality: HUNGARIAN
No. of Appointments: 1
Address: 6434 BAY CEDAR LANE
BRADENTON
MANATEE
FLORIDA 34203
USA

Dave Shullick is also linked with the domain xtremetransactions.com and Xtreme Innovations, LLC of Ohio. Shullick and another site was mentioned in the Guardian article enetitled Money for nothing in 2006. But as the company was forcibly dissolved in December 2008, the who is running these web sites?

Xtremetransactions.com is also linked to from the Adobe9.0-PDF.com site, showing that the two are closely related.



The UK address isn't much of a clue - it belongs to a company called Fletcher Kennedy, who specialise in forming other companies. Fletcher Kennedy are nothing to do with the site, but they have fulfilled the legal role of company secretary for both "Xtreme" companies, but they appear to have terminated that relationship.

Is the other XTREME-SOFT company any relation? It's odd that they both have very similar names and the same address, but the only director listed for XTREME-SOFT LTD is in Saudi Arabia:

DIRECTOR: QUBAISI, MOHSEN
Appointed: 22/03/2006
Nationality: SAUDI
No. of Appointments: 1
Address: 31952 KOBAR STREET
SAUDI ARABIA
It's not clear if these two entities are actually related in any way.

So, here's an outfit that is hiding its details and appears to have been operating by a firm that had been forcibly dissolved. So who exactly is running it now?

Anyway, that's enough foreplay. Let's get down to the money shot. Let's say that you want to download the software, first there's a registration screen.. then you get to see what this is all about:

Yup, they're trying to stiff you with a £27 charge plus 83p per month to download a free bit of software. Goodness only knows what "download accelerator plus" is.

Here we go.. £37 for something that you can get for free. My advice? Avoid this one at all costs!



If you have paid money to this company any want a refund, this RipoffReport suggests the following:

MONEY RETRIEVED!

Don't let these people get away with what they do.

Keep on emailing them as well as the third-party that bills their accounts. I got a full refund, including the so-called $5.99 service charge.

Explore you options on the next. Report them to the internet fraud site. Contact your bank and report them. In fact, do everything that you need to do.

I did not stop, until I got everything back.
Allegedly, the contact email address is support@software-hq.net (and that domain seems to have generated a lot of complaints) but you may be better off contacting your bank if you believe that you have been misled in any way.