Hackers renew airline-ticket scam spam

Targets Continental Airlines, raises price of bogus ticket to stay up to date

In a reprise of a summer tactic, hackers are trying to trick people into infecting their PCs with malware by sending them e-mail that poses as bogus airline ticket invoices and boarding passes, a security company said Monday.

The spam, which claims to be from Continental Airlines, thanks the recipient for using a new "Buy flight ticket Online" service, provides a log-in username and password, and says the recipient's credit card has been charged more than US$900, according to Trend Micro's research.

An attached .zip file, the message says, includes an invoice and "flight ticket." In fact, noted Trend Micro, the archive file contains an executable file "e-ticket.doc.exe," that is actually a Windows worm that downloads and installs other attack code to the PC.

"It's the old double-extension trick to hopefully fool the user to double-click the attachment," said Joey Costoya, a Trend Micro researcher, in an entry to the company's security blog . "The phrase'Your credit card has been charged ...' will just add more worry for the user, convincing him more to examine [and] double-click the'flight details'," Costoya added.

An almost-identical attack hit consumers last July when hackers sent spam that masqueraded as mail from Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines. Among the few differences: The current campaign has dramatically bumped up the amount supposedly charged to recipients' credit cards. In July, the figures were often in the US$400 range.

Airline ticket prices jumped this summer as fuel costs climbed, a fact Continental recognized when it posted its third-quarter earnings last Friday. The airline, which reported a net loss of US$236 million for the quarter, blamed both high fuel prices and Hurricane Ike for its poor performance.

According to Continental, its jet fuel averaged US$3.49 per gallon during the quarter, up from US$2.16, a 62 percent increase. Fuel prices peaked at US$4.21 per gallon during the period, Continental said.

The malware used in July also differed from the attack code spotted by Trend Micro. Three months ago, hackers tried to plant an identity-stealing Trojan horse on users' Windows PCs. The Trojan had made a name for itself in 2007 as the malware used to rip off more than 1.6 million customer records from Monster Worldwide, the company that runs the popular Monster.com job site.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags scams

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?