June 26, 2008Backscatter Poo
Automated systems can be just so damned dumb (I must reserve the word "stupid" for other purposes in this posting).
It appears that Sony Style's Customer Care system allows any Tom, Dick, and Harry Z. Robot to submit an issue via email without any kind of authentication or proof that the sender is human. I know this because earlier today I received an automated response from Sony, acknowledging "my" request for help:
Allow me to translate. At 01:54 PM today, a Sony email account user name of
sonystyle-[removed] received a question from a customer whose name is Kimball Shigeo, and whose email address is...one of my email addresses. The question consisted of a URL to a German web site hosting a file named video1.exe.
In our last episode, you remember, I wrote about the "You look really stupid [so-and-so]" malware lures flooding message space in the last couple of days. Sony received one of these, complete with a forged From: address, and entered it into their system. Their system (actually, a system belonging to the customer relationship management company they use) then spit out the confirmation above.
Since they provided a link to view the question and answer thread and after verifying that the link was legit, I clicked to see what, if anything, they'd show. Oddly enough, I couldn't view it because to do so required an account and password—theoretically one that I would have had to set up to submit the question in the first place.
Hmmm. Something tells me that the Sony email address targeted by the botnet isn't the normal way to submit support questions. It might be some kind of back door address that sneaks past the account-creation process.
At 4:00 on the button, Sony Style issued another e-missive. This one was titled:
Subject: Your recent Sony Style Customer Care experience
Some relevant excerpts:
Recently you contacted Sony Style Customer Care. In order to enhance the Sony Style customer experience, we invite you to complete a short survey that specifically targets your Customer Care experience. ... You received this email because our records show you contacted Sony Style Customer Care and we wish to improve our service.
Because I understand what's going on here, I simply get pissed off, rant about it in a blog entry, and load up a customer service survey with vitriol. But I'd wager that almost anyone else receiving a confirmation like the one above would be confused beyond belief. Worse still, they might venture to that URL to download and run the Trojan installer. Yikes!
Stee-rike Three. Yer out!