First Union Hoax on the Loose

By Dennis Fisher  |  Posted 2003-05-08
A hoax e-mail purporting to come from First Union Bank and attempting to dupe recipients to visit a malicious Web site is making the rounds on the Internet.

The e-mail arrives from the address and informs the recipient that the bank has lost the recipients online banking username and password. It directs users to a Web site where they are encouraged to enter their usernames and passwords, which are presumably then collected for later use by the scam artist who created the e-mail.

Bank officials say theyre trying to determine who is sending the e-mails.

Even if users dont enter their personal information in the form at the site, they could still be at risk. Simply visiting the site triggers an automatic download of the Backdoor-AMQ Trojan horse program to the visitors machine, according to an advisory published Thursday by the Unified Incident Reporting and Alert Scheme, the U.K. equivalent of the CERT Coordination Center.

Backdoor-AMQ is a well-known application that gives an attacker the ability to remotely control infected machines. Once installed a PC, the program allows an attacker to perform a number of tasks on the remote machine, including deleting and moving files, shutting down Windows, logging off users and hiding or killing applications, Windows and processes.

Officials at Wachovia Corp., in Charlotte, N.C., which now owns First Union, said they first became aware of the scam in mid-April and have had some reports from customers who have been affected by it.

"Weve had some luck working with the authorities on this, but its in their hands at this point," said Sandy Vasseur, a spokeswoman for Wachovia. "We dont know if any actual customer PCs were infected. But its a credibility issue for us. We need to make it clear that this isnt from us."

Vasseur said Wachovia never sends account information in e-mail messages.

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