A current rash of emails masquerading as being sent by HSBC distributing malware detection software Rapport, are actually designed to steal recipients’ identities.
This highlights the advice that everybody should follow, to be wary of clicking on links or attachments in unexpected emails, however authentic they may seem.
The warning comes from online security vendor Symantec, whose researchers say that the emails invite recipients to click on a link to visit a website where they can download Rapport, a legitimate program designed to protect online bank accounts from fraud. However, doing so takes users to an illicit website where they are instructed to enter confidential details.
The emails seem very authentic, displaying an ‘@hsbc.com’ sender address and including security advisory information and eco-friendly messaging. They even warn recipients against opening attachments from unknown or non-trustworthy sources.
However, they also have a number of features which reveal them as fake to the security-savvy – but probably not too many average internet users.
In addition, the malware also utilises Windows short-cut to access various control settings in more recent Windows operating systems. This enables it to hide itself on recipients’ computers.