US-CERT: Beware of Affordable Care Phishing Campaign

US-CERT (the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team) is aware of a phishing campaign purporting to come from a U.S. Federal Government Agency. The phishing emails reference the Affordable Care Act in the subject and claim to direct users to health coverage information, but instead direct them to sites which attempt to elicit private information or install malicious code.

US-CERT encourages users to take the following measures to protect themselves:

Do not follow links or download attachments in unsolicited email messages.

Maintain up-to-date antivirus software.

Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks

In a social engineering attack, an attacker uses human interaction (social skills) to obtain or compromise information about an organization or its computer systems. An attacker may seem unassuming and respectable, possibly claiming to be a new employee, repair person, or researcher and even offering credentials to support that identity. However, by asking questions, he or she may be able to piece together enough information to infiltrate an organization’s network. If an attacker is not able to gather enough information from one source, he or she may contact another source within the same organization and rely on the information from the first source to add to his or her credibility.

What is a phishing attack?
Phishing is a form of social engineering. Phishing attacks use email or malicious websites to solicit personal information by posing as a trustworthy organization. For example, an attacker may send email seemingly from a reputable credit card company or financial institution that requests account information, often suggesting that there is a problem. When users respond with the requested information, attackers can use it to gain access to the accounts.

Phishing attacks may also appear to come from other types of organizations, such as charities. Attackers often take advantage of current events and certain times of the year, such as

• natural disasters (e.g., Hurricane Katrina, Indonesian tsunami)

• epidemics and health scares (e.g., H1N1)

• economic concerns (e.g., IRS scams)
major political elections

• holidays

If affected by the campaign, users should report the incident to appropriate parties within their organization and notify US-CERT.

USCERT contact information is on the website front page …
www.us-cert.gov


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