Hackers sent out “scary” spam emails to at least 100,000 accounts that appeared to be from a federal security agency, according to an anti-spam monitoring group.
The emails were sent out Friday warning their recipients of an impending cyber attack. They purported to come from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Threat Detection and Analysis Group.
“They are causing a lot of disruption because the headers are real, they really are coming from FBI infrastructure,” anti-spam monitoring group Spamhaus said on Twitter early Saturday morning. “They have no name or contact information in the .sig. Please beware!”
Spamhaus said that while the emails came from a government server, they are fake. The emails the message was sent to were likely extracted from an online database, the group said.
The FBI responded with a short statement confirming the attack and saying the impacted hardware had been taken offline. Urging caution, the FBI urged the public to report suspicious activity to ic3.gov or cisa.gov.
The hacker’s motives are unclear. The bizarre email referenced cybersecurity writer Vinny Troia and a cybercriminal group called The Dark Overlord, reports NBC News. Troia’s company Night Lion Security has published research on The Dark Overlord.
Brian Krebs, a journalist who has written extensively on cybercriminals, wrote on his blog that he interviewed the person claiming responsibility for the hoax emails who said they wanted to point out “a glaring vulnerability in the FBI’s system.”
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