Report: Bank of Melbourne’s Twitter feed used for Phishing

Bank of Melbourne’s Twitter feed used for Phishing

The Bank of Melbourne had a bit of a problem last week. Someone compromised their Twitter feed and sent Phishing messages to their followers, many of whom are customers. The malicious links however, sent via direct message to avoid notice, were nothing spectacular and easy to spot with a trained eye.

The problem was discovered last Wednesday. Customers and individuals who follow the Bank of Melbourne on Twitter were sent malicious links via direct message. The messages were the same, aside from variations within the URL, generated with Twitter’s address shortener.

“ATTN: Unauthorised DMs sent bw 4-5pm today, do not click link. No customer/personal data compromised. Apologies for the inconvenience,” the bank said to their Twitter followers.

Later the bank added that they “take security very seriously & will be strengthening [their] policies to further protect our social channels.”

For the curious, the Phishing messages looked like this one: “This made me laugh so hard when i saw this about you lol hxxp://”

Image: @melpay

Note: The URL above is being flagged by Twitter as harmful. The forwarding address is offline at this time, but readers should avoid visiting it nevertheless.

The address forwarded to a Phishing page on, which harvested usernames and passwords for the social networking site. The technical details on the domain itself are here, and you can safely view one of several Phishing attempts here.

The Tech Herald was able to track down three similar pages on this domain using various URLs, but there may have been others. This makes determining the number of victims nearly impossible.

It is worth noting that the malicious link sent via the Bank of Melbourne’s Twitter account targeted Twitter itself, instead of banking customers. This is why the bank is positive that no customer data was compromised due to the incident. However, if customers used the same password on Twitter as they do for their online banking, there could be a problem.

It’s best to avoid password sharing entirely, but if that is not possible, then the best advice is to ensure that passwords for finance related access are completely separate from those used on social media.

The Bank of Melbourne prides itself on offering friendly and easy interactions, both on and offline. The Phishing links delivered via the bank were looking to exploit the trust developed by the financial organization. However, the Phishing attempts were easily spotted simply because they were missing a few things that would have marked them as an official communication from the bank.

The first item missing is the signature. Each bank employee signs their post on Twitter with their initials. If you look at the bank’s Twitter feed, you will see this represented by ^TT and ^AS. So bank customers could have immediately questioned the validity of the random DM from that alone.

However, the other item of note is the message itself. It is missing proper capitalization, and does not follow the normal patterns of speech used by the bank on Twitter.

This incident aside, similar messages have spread across Twitter over the last few months [example], each linking to a domain looking to harvest information. If you receive one of these messages, remember to think before you click.

Ask the person if they actually sent the message before you access the URL. Look at the message itself, and question how it is written. Does it match the style of writing of the person sending it, considering previous communications? Do you even know the person sending it? If you only know them online and rarely talk to them, should you trust random links sent by them?

In the case of the Bank of Melbourne, we’re told that the likely cause for the account compromise was a weak password used by a staffer with access to Twitter. We’ve asked the bank to confirm if this is correct, and will update with more information as we get it.

In the mean time, this can serve as a lesson for organizations looking to develop social media presences. Online, an organization’s band and reputation matter, so the same policies implemented to protect a company’s resources must be applied equally, to both the business itself internally, as well as on social platforms such as Twitter. This includes password and access management.

While the password strength is at question when it comes to the Bank of Melbourne, their policy of limiting access to Twitter to a few key employees and having them sign their individual posts is something to consider. A policy such as this helps narrow the scope of investigating a security incident.

Like this article? Please share on Facebook and give The Tech Herald a Like too!

From our Other Sites

Man Makes Tiny Edible Pancakes with Tiny Kitchen Tools (Video)

This Japanese guy cooks up some pancakes…nothing special there right? Well he uses tiny implements to do it and makes perfect little pancakes. Kinda cool and they look tasty!

What Color is this Dress?

White and Gold or Blue and Black?
Well this one has been trending all over the web, just what color is this dress? It all started in Scotland when the mother of a bride-to-be sent a picture to her daughter asking what she thought of the dress. The bride and groom each saw the image differently, this then got posted online and picked up by some viral sites. The lighting in photo is probably  causing different people to see it as either white and gold or blue and black. Prof Stephen Westland, chair of color science and technology at a University in the UK told the BBC that it was impossible to see what other people see but that it was most […]

McLaren 675LT Pictures

Some great shots of the forthcoming McLaren 675LT. This coupe will get you to 60mph in less than 2.9 second and go all the way to 205mph.

McLaren 675LT Details

McLaren’s 675LT will debut at this year’s Geneva show and promises some eye-popping performance. The coupe only 675LT has a 3.8 liter V8 that will get you from 0-60mph in less than 2.9 seconds and to 124mph in less than 7.9 secondsMore than a third of the parts have been changed compared with its stable mate […]

McLaren 675LT Wallpaper

Some cool McLaren 675LT Wallpaper. The McLaren 675LT is the latest coupe to come from the supercar maker and has a top speed of 205mph.Click on an image to open a page with multiple sizes that you can download to use as wallpaper for your mobile or desktop.More McLaren Wallpaper.

Octopus hunts on land, grabs crab (Video)

This crab is minding its own business searching the rock pools for food when suddenly an octopus leaps out of the water and grabs it. The amazing thing is that the octopus does not just jump on the crab it actually pulls it all the way back to the rock pool it came from. If you check the second video you will see it is not unknown for octopus to come out of the water and the one in the second video has a crab with it, though is not hunting one! Octopus Walks on Land at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve The video was taken by Porsche Indrisie in Yallingup, Western […]

Stunning Mars Rover Selfie

This image by the Curiosity Mars rover is not exactly your typical selfie. It is made up of a bunch of images taken by the rover during January 2015 by the Mars Hand Lens Imager. This (MAHLI) camera is at the end of the robot’s arm. For a sense of scale the rover’s wheels are about 20 inches diameter and 16 inches wide. Check the annotated image below for more information on the surroundings. Also if you really want to see some detail click this very large image, 36mb, at NASA.  

How the Sahara Helps Feed the Amazon (Video)

Sahara to Amazon
This cool video from NASA shows how dust is transferred across the Atlantic to the Amazon rainforest and helps nourish the plants growing there. For the first time scientists have measured the amount of dust and the amount of phosphorus in the dust. The later acts like a fertiliser and helps replenish the phosphorus the rainforest loses each year, around 22,000 tons. Amazing how something we perceive as being desolate like a desert actually has an important role in sustaining somewhere we see as teeming with life. Image and video from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Bouncing Laser Guided Bomb (Video)

This amazing video shows a laser guided bomb bouncing back up after hitting its target. We actually think this is a non-explosive bomb designed to test guidance systems but it is still pretty remarkable and somewhat scary.

South Koreans Swallowed by Sinkhole (Video)

Thankfully the couple survived their adventure.
This amazing footage taken from the CCTV on a passing bus shows the moment two pedestrians in South Korea fall down a sinkhole in the street! Rescue workers managed to save the pair, who were treated in a nearby hospital for minor injuries. According to reports the city authorities and the Korean Geotechnical Society are looking into the cause.