fake-contract-croppedPerhaps someone at Google might explain the following: Suppose that a new Gmail account is established with a portion of the user ID seemingly matching some company name. Maybe the new account is Main-Street-Insurance-123@gmail.com, or something like that. If that account suddenly starts blasting out PDF attachments that resemble fake contracts, then why don’t your filters drop the send? (I’ll hum the Jeopardy tune, while you think.)

Today, this happened to us at TAG Cyber. And while I just sigh, because I’ve been dealing with these issues for three decades, I also chuckle at how cleverly these attacks are perfectly optimized to lure in the biggest dummies. You see – the badness of these forgeries, including misspellings and easily validated incorrect information, are put there to save the attackers a great deal of time: If you’re dumb enough to respond, then you’re an awesome find!

The fake contract we saw floating around today had some doozies! They wrote this: “Today, Tag Cyber is publicly trade and employs over 4,600 people worldwide with annual revenues of approximately $800 million. Licensing agreements allow Tag Cyber technology to work inside monitoring devices from a host of manufacturers, including Philips, Atom, Mindray North America, GE Medical, Spacelabs, and Zoli.”

Man – wow! This sounds so cool – but it is obviously not true. I mean, uh, we have a way to go before hitting $800 million. And we are obviously not a public company, and unless I’ve missed something obvious, we do not employ 4,600 people. But thank you, thank you, thank you, dear attacker for your kind confidence in our ability to grow. I do wish, however, that you would go find something else to do with your time.

Here is a little learning moment for you: Do not ever, ever, ever trust inbound Gmail account messages or any other anonymous senders when their email pops into your in-box. And especially do not put sensitive information into any employment contracts sent to you in such a manner. But then, this is probably just me singing to the choir, because anyone clicking on that sort of stuff, doesn’t read my columns. 

Now, let me get back to my work. I have lots to do if I’m going to keep those all those 4,600 people busy.