Scammers claim there is a virus in Apple’s iTunes database

Scammers are once again targeting Apple customers in their attempt to hijack accounts and steal payment information.

Security researcher Bryan Campbell raised the alarm, posting on Twitter an email he had been sent which posed as a communication from “Apple Service”, asking users to revalidate their account details.

What makes the spammed-out email of interest is that the scammers are claiming that the reason why users needed to reconfirm their account details was that a virus has been found in Apple’s iTunes database:

Apple ID scam

Dear Apple Customer,

This is to inform you that a Virus has been detected in our iTunes database, and in other for you not to loose your iTunes account and to ensure efficient use of your Apple store, Please you are advise to re-validate your details with us to secure your iTunes account permanently. This is the second time out admin is sending you this message and failure to re-validate your iTunes account upon receiving this message, will lead to permanent closing of your account within the next 72 hours. Please follow the secure link below to clean and re-validate your iTunes Account.

NOTE: All information provided by you must be correct to avoid closing of your iTunes Account.

Of course, the message is nonsense. And there is no virus in the iTunes database that requires users to reconfirm their details to Apple.

One would hope that the poor grammar and occasional dodgy spelling would alarm some recipients that the message might not be entirely trustworthy, but there is always the danger that users would be so concerned that they might lose access to their Apple ID account that they would click on the proffered link without properly considering the possible consequences.

What actually happens if you make the mistake of clicking on the link is this: your browser will be redirected to a third-party site that is posing as a login page for iTunes Connect.

Apple ID phishing page

The phishing page asks you to enter the email address associated with your Apple ID account and password. Of course, it doesn’t actually check whether your login details are correct or not – as I found when I entered entirely bogus credentials for testing purposes.

Instead, it transfers you to an bogus “Update Billing” page, which asks you to enter personal information and (no doubt) will ultimately lead to a request for you to enter your payment card details also.

Updating billing Apple ID phishing page

Remember to always be careful about the links you click on, and verifying that a site that is asking for your password is the real deal. A good password manager can help in this regard, refusing to enter a password into a login form if it doesn’t recognise the domain.

If you receive what you believe to be a phishing email purporting to be from Apple, the company asks that you forward it to them at reportphishing@apple.com, including the message’s full header information.

Furthermore, if you come across a phishing webpage that you believe your web browser should be blocking, you could do a lot worse than also report it to Google’s Safe Browsing team.

Working as a community we can help protect more vulnerable, less careful internet users from falling for scammers’ tricks.

Author Graham Cluley, We Live Security

  • Coyote

    There mightn’t be a virus in Apple’s iTunes database but it seems Luxembourg (assuming that is indeed where IT is from) is the host of a parasite (of the genus[1] scammer) in the disguise of a human.

    [1] Or maybe it is species. It’s been too long since I’ve studied biology on a general level and I don’t care enough (other sciences matter to me much more) to look into it (although I’m open to anyone enlightening me on the matter).

    • Well, that address looks like Apple’s office in Luxembourg. I don’t have the original mail, so I don’t know if that was where the link went, but I’d guess at misdirection. As for genus and species, I’m afraid I’m too cynical to believe that scammers are a different species to homo sapiens, let alone a different genus. Maybe I’ve just spent too much time in security…

      • Coyote

        I’m the same; it was an expression of extreme contempt. The other part of my response was (fairly weak) sarcasm/mockery of their claim. This is also why I suggested a disguise. But maybe you’re also saying similar?

  • ok

    The devil is in the detail. Switched on folk would know that kurturpa.com isn’t apple.com.

  • diane

    scary yea but the intrusion of the iTunes store into the middle of my netflix movie every night starting at 11 p.m is also INSIDIOUS. I mean the iTunes store literally knocks out my movie right off the server and replaces it with itself. So far two tech support people and TWO “SENIOR ADVISORS” havent been able to fix the problem. Why? My guess is that iTunes itself has generated this problem to force it’s pricey products in our faces.

  • dpsttmpst

    The only “virus” is the constant nagging to use Apple Music instead of buying digital music files through iTunes. iTunes is de facto dead.

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