UK students are being targeted by phishing scammers with specially crafted emails designed to trick them into giving away personal details, according to security vendor Sophos.
The firm's senior technology consultant, Graham Cluley, explained in a blog post that the emails in question are being sent out to coincide with the beginning of the new academic year.
"An email, claiming to come from Directgov UK, tells students that there is a problem with the online account for their student loan, and they need to update their account urgently," he said.
"Clicking on the HTML attachment is not a good idea, however, as it will urge you to enter your details which are then sent via a web site to the phishers."
The emails in question, which Sophos managed to intercept, come complete with the Directgov branding, although on closer inspection contain grammatical mistakes that should be enough to alert a suspicious recipient.
"Dear Student Finance Customer. We at HM Government noticed your Student loan online log in details is incorrect and need to be updated," the message reads.
"DOWNLOAD THE ATTACHMENT TO UPDATE YOUR ACCOUNT NOW."
While spam rates have remained relatively low since the take down of key botnets including Rustock, phishing has continued to prove popular among online fraudsters, thanks to the ready availability of phishing kits for sale on underground internet forums.
Most recently, Google extended its two factor authentication initiative globally in a bid to limit the success of such attacks, which have used everything from the Wimbledon tennis tournament to the annual tax return system to trick internet users into giving up their details.
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