Almost everyone with an email account has been phished at some time or another – this morning it was turn of the Reserve Bank of Australia and its email alert subscribers:

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) also known as the Central Bank of Australia is currently working on the safety of all Australia Banks and the convenience of conducting most of your banking transactions at a time that suits with ANZ bank, Westpac Bank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

In order to confirm the new the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) security with ANZ bank, Westpac Bank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia and to preserve your account stability with any of this banks, kindly confirm your account registration with new the Reserve Bank of Australia(RBA) by clicking your bank link below to confirm your account security now…

Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, and ANZ customers were those targeted in the message which hit inboxes at around 8am. At 9.53am, the RBA sent out a hastily-compiled clarification:

The “Original Message” below purporting to come from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has been forwarded to us by concerned people. It is a hoax e-mail.

The e-mail was not issued or authorised by the Reserve Bank of Australia.

While most Australian email users are close to suffering a repetitive strain injury from deleting the hordes of hoax emails requesting their banking details, this is only the second time the scam has worn RBA badging.

The first hit inboxes in January this year but led to little or no loss. As with that first attack, the RBA has referred this latest incident to the Australian High Tech Crime Centre and the racily-named Australian Computer Emergency Response Team (geeks with guns?).

Given the high level of awareness about phishing attacks, the RBA is not expecting the email to cause its subscribers too much concern, though that doesn’t explain how the RBA’s secure subscriber list fell into the hands of those responsible.

Interestingly, the links provided in the message are thought to lead to a dead end, suggesting the email is an attempt to disrupt rather than an attempt to gain personal information.

Now who could possibly have a reason for given the RBA a hard time? Mortgagees? Pollies annoyed at this year’s rate rises? Investigations continue.

Peter Fray

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