We regularly see American Express Phishing emails. They are so common, along with emails from just about every bank in existence worldwide., that we rarely bother to post about them, unless there is something very different or unusual about either the email, the website you land on or the html attachment that frequently comes with these sort of emails. This one is slightly different, mainly in the way the html; attachment is formed. It is a tiny file size only 892 bytes, just enough for a small amount of text and not enough for a full phishing site form to be included.
Opening the HTML file in notepad, at first you only see a few words at the top
!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd”><html xmlns=”http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml”>
<link rel=”shortcut icon” href=”https://web.aexp-static.com/us/content/serve/images/Serve/favicon.ico” type=”image/x-icon” />
That doesn’t do anything and nothing bad there. But scroll down past a load of empty bank space & you come to
<title>American Express | Personal Information| Step 1 of 2</title>
<frame . src=http://yaton.cn/sitemap/tmp/api/dev/9a6ede4302e6a8e2e954628f42667db9.html?IM1LMFebNpBB52XiGWfHvItALGxMXHuKoi8bXDXcfG3tkcoZf5CrfNl6UKAvTLWCKZsmwC0D_sU&fri=94967a3c452cd9c1aca5740a3727d009&vas=1></frame>
So that shows a website that looks like this included in a frame so it is never actually on your computer at all. ( I had to split the screenshot into 2 parts to get all the information they want, Which is a lot more than normal. )
The original email looks like this. It will NEVER be a genuine email from American Express or any other bank or credit card company so don’t ever follow the links or fill in the html ( webpage) form that comes attached to the email.
|Account Information Email|
|Primary Card Holder(s) should act on this information.
We made improvements on card security approach. These recent improvements serve to reduce unusual activity that may arise from fraudulent use of card and also maintain our consistent cardmember satisfactory. This mandates Cardmember to act on the instructions below.
As a security measure, your Card(s) will be deactivated 45 days from today if no action is taken.
Prompt Attention Required – See Below
– See Attached Secure Webpage File.
– To continue, Download and Open Page File.
Thank you for your continued Membership. We appreciate your prompt attention and hope you will enjoy your new Chip Card.
American Express Customer Care
If you are unwise enough to fill in the details asked for, you get sent on to the genuine American Express page ( or should be). But American Express have taken proactive action and prevent their websites being shown or displayed inside frames, so instead you get this message ( if you were to right click the link & select open in new window, it does take you to the genuine American Express site )
Please read our How to protect yourselves page for simple, sensible advice on how to avoid being infected by this sort of socially engineered malware.
All of these emails use Social engineering tricks to persuade you to open the attachments that come with the email or click the link in the email . Whether it is a message saying “look at this picture of me I took last night” and it appears to come from a friend or is more targeted at somebody who regularly is likely to receive PDF attachments or Word .doc attachments or any other common file that you use every day. Or whether it is a straight forward attempt, like this one, to steal your personal, bank, credit card or email and social networking log in details. Be very careful when unzipping them and make sure you have “show known file extensions enabled“, And then look carefully at the unzipped file. If it says .EXE then it is a problem and should not be run or opened.