Monday, February 25, 2008

These are the Informations we need

I was cleaning out the Spam (OK, I was fishing through it looking for your emails) when I came across this:
Your E-mail Account Is Having Problem With The Netherland (STMP ISP Server).
You E-mail Account will be close down any moment from now due to the Interrior
of ISP (221.174.1929) of your Storage Limit. If you don't want your E-mail
Address to be closed down, Send us your E-mail Account informations so
that we can verify the problem of your Account. These are the informations
we need from you in other for us to Activate your E-mail Account.

They are as Follows:
1. Username:
2. Password:
3. First Name:
4. Last Name:
5. Age:
6. Sex:

Contact The Administrator
E-mail: __________@hotmail.com
Re: Os X Stmp/POP server
Archive - RE: [Oz-ISP] Mail STMP server
I dunno, it seems legit, and it has a lot of technical sounding words in it. And the Dutch are cool right?

I don't want any Interrior ISP problems with my storage limit, and I damn sure don't want my E-mail account to close down at any moment. I spotted the problem right away, my system is not configured to handle the unusual Nether-Regions non-octal 3-group IP Addressing scheme (221.174.1929), maybe they could download me a plug-in or something.

I sent them my username, password, first and last names, age, sex (yes, please), and just for good measure I included my picture, the name of my first pet, SSN, credit card numbers and banking info, and a DNA sample, because I want this matter cleared up right away. My God, what if I couldn't email the Netherlands? I mean, I don't know anybody there, but I like to keep my options open.

Seriously, who falls for this shit?


  1. Every teacher that works at my school district.

  2. No, seriously, who falls for this shit?

  3. I guess in all fairness, it's not all of them. But really, these are the kinds of people that fall for this stuff. I get calls. Every day. Every single day.

    "Shawn, I have to update my banking info -- I can do that from the school, right?"

    Which starts a ridiculous, seemingly retarded conversation about phishing.



  4. "Shawn, I have to update my banking info -- I can do that from the school, right?"

    Well, sure, you can do that from school, but...due to our new firewall procedures, you have to write down your banking information and give it to me and Iwill update your accounts. Now, once I update your account, it may appear that your balance is zero, however...

  5. The scary thing is that if it didn't work they'd stop doing it. And as I'm sure you know, the thing with e-mail is that it's as much trouble to send 1,000 as it is to send 1. If you set up a 'bot to send out 10,000 e-mails and a mere 1% of your recipients are suckers... yeah.

    And I've represented more than a few people who got charged with a felony (Obtaining Property By False Pretenses) when they cashed a "Canadian Lottery Ticket" or agreed to cash a check and split the proceeds with the nice fellow in Nigeria who mailed it to them. A lot of them end up pleading to misdemeanors because DAs and cops usually don't believe them and they stand a chance of seeing a jail cell if a jury doesn't, either.

    Okay, now I've depressed myself. This is why I don't write about work. You know what's fun? George Romero movies!

    Okay, I won't hijack: there's a lot of suckers out there, Jim. More than you'd ever think. Ask Barnum, he knew.

  6. Oh I believe it, Eric, I just don't want to.

  7. Yeah... for me, these are the people supposedly teaching my kids how to utilize technology.

    (I'm a bit bitter this evening too, so I guess there's that...)

  8. Well, yeah, stomach cramps make ya cranky.

    And the way to look at it is this: You are teaching your kid how to use technology, those people are teaching his competition ...

  9. They're obviously using that IPv5, you know, the one that never really saw the light of day except in movies and whatnot where they can use an IP address to pinpoint someone's physical address without all that mucking around with ISP records and subpoenas.

  10. Kinda related from the other direction....

    When I was teaching the life long learners last week, there were several who admitted that they were frightened of the internet.

    They've heard so many horror stories that they were afraid to do *anything*.

    I gave 'em two rules to follow. If you are afraid of mistyping an address (and ending up with nekkid women) go to google (or yahoo) and type in what you're searching for. That way you can be certain you end up at Amazon or Sears or the White House.

    The second thing I told them was never never never never click on a link through e-mail unless they were expecting the message or it's from someone they know. That if they get a "message from their bank" either call the bank or go to the bank website (see step 1) and check their information from there.

    With those two rules, that solved most of their fear, and should keep them as safe as two rules can keep someone safe.

    So they won't be contributing to the stupid.

    You're welcome.

  11. Here's the one I don't get. Its one thing to get an email claiming to be from Citibank or Chase or Bank of America. They have a couple bazillion customers, so odds are they'll get to someone who might get fooled into thinking their account might have a problem. Lately, though, I'm getting emails from things like "The Custodial Workers 3rd Credit Union of Abilene".

    How many likely targets is that gonna find?

  12. The Custodial Workers 3rd Credit Union of Abilene

    The 3rd Credit Union, you mean there's more than one? Not to be a snob or anything, but I don't know that I'd want to keep my money in a 3rd rate credit union. 1st Union, that's for me.

    Only the other hand: Custodial Workers Credit Union - at least you know the bathrooms will be clean as a whistle...

  13. C'mon, David. That's IPv10.

    No MAC addresses required. No Subpoenas. No ISP records. It's MAGIC. Magic, I say.

    Also very prevalent on 24.

  14. David, yeah I love the magic Hollywood IPvX.

    I especially love it when they show that fantasy NSA 'command center' - the one with the giant screens and Enterprise Bridge layout. And they show the 'trace' as a big green line doing the connect the dots routine around a high tech map of the world - right into the bad guy's basement. Yeah. If only it was that easy.

    I think most folks would be seriously disappointed by NSA NSOC (there's no 'command center' like in the movies, the proper term is NSOC - the National Security Ops Center), which looks a lot like what it is, a big office space, complete with cubicles and outdated government issue computers. But I guess, Hollywood wise, watching a green screen full of IP addresses and router data isn't all that exciting.

    My personal favorite? Enemy of the State, if only, man, if only.

  15. Nathan, you get someone who's hard up (and maybe not too educated), and they want to believe something like that is true. That maybe they really did get lucky for a change. Or maybe if it's not really on the up-and-up, it's still the bank's mistake, not theirs.

    And, not infrequently, the ultimate scam is set up so that it briefly looks like the sucker is really getting something for nothing: a deposit is "made" that doesn't actually post, a bad check is sent to the sucker with instructions for handling it, etc. In some of these, the sucker may not even be the direct victim: it's really the bank or other financial handler that's actually out the money... and the local sucker left saying, yes, he got to keep $200 and he can pay that back if they give him a little time, but he mailed the rest of the money to the P.O. Box like the people told him to....

    And, like I said earlier, you only need a few suckers to get a return. It costs the same to send an e-mail from "The Custodial Workers 3rd Credit Union of Abilene" to one person as it does to 10,000,000--if only one desperate, naive person responds, that's pure profit.

    On a less-depressing note, Jerry Pournelle claims to have received the greatest spam of all time, which can be found on this page (do an in-page search for the phrase of "Uruk of Mordor" to get to it--it's worth a read if you've never seen it before--go now, fly, read the funny writing!).

  16. Eric,

    You are correct, sir. Sadly, I am pretty familiar with most of these scams, I worked and lectured in the field of Information Warfare for a long time and I used to use some examples of this particular scam (the Spanish Prisoner updated for the electronic age) in my lectures.

    I've read the Pournelle post, and I visit Chaos Manor once in a while, but man I've got to tell you - the man's site give me a freakin' headache. I've got an extensive background in tech and compsci, but I wouldn't presume to give the good Dr. advice on it, he's been doing it since Noah was shoveling dino shit over the Ark's gunwales. But seriously, somebody needs to overhaul that site and move Old Jerry into the 21st century of web design.

  17. "Okay, we have a trace going now, Sir," said the steely eyed technician pouncing on keys at his station.

    The man with all the metal on his shoulders and scrambled eggs on his hat smiled grimly. "Great, tell me where that bastard is," he said, leaning forward in his command seat, accidentally pushing the button on the arm rest that signaled the stewards to bring more coffee.

    The technician sat up straighter, "Sir, he's at"

    "WTF does that mean?!" exploded the commander, waving madly at the display screen of all the US internet trunk lines.

  18. My favorite was seeing it in an episode of Law & Order: SVU, where the perp had an IP address starting with 398 (which I guess is kinda like 555 for phone numbers) and they were able to run it right to their physical address. And it wasn't even the NSA! The humble NYPD doing that from some detective's desk!

  19. Ja, Pournelle's site needs an overhaul. I respect that he's an antediluvian presence on the web, but does his site have to look like it? I don't visit his site regularly, and was a little shocked when Googling the Mordor spam bit took me to a site that didn't seem to have changed since '02.

  20. David, I don't watch L&O:SUV much. I've caught a few episodes and it seems like a good show, but I just never got into it. But, yeah, your humble PD doing an IP trace to end user in real time without having to go through the ISP... suuure.

    Eric, "antediluvian" heh heh. I used to subscribe to Byte strictly for Computing at Chaos Manor and I miss it. I was a paid subscriber to Pournelle's site for about a year, but I just find the layout so damned aggravating that I can't stand it.

    Plus he's attracted a rather large Hawklike following and that puts me off a bit - then again, he is an expert on conservative politics and government, so I do pay attention. I've met his son in passing, he's a Navy Officer, and we were in San Diego at the same time. Seems like a rather cool chap, Alex Pournelle He's commented on Scalzi's site a few times about his father and Niven, and I thought his comments were intelligent and insightful and funny when it comes to Niven.


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