FBI warns of criminals spoofing its website domain names

Graham Cluley
@gcluley

FBI warns of criminals spoofing its website domain names

The FBI is warning internet users to be on their guard against copycat websites that spoof FBI-related domain names.

According to a public service announcement issued today by Federal Bureau of Investigation, it has observed cybercriminals registering “numerous domains spoofing legitimate FBI websites.”

It’s easy to imagine how a fraudster might concoct an official-looking email, that might appear authentic to the typical user but actually link to a website under their control with a similar looking URL.

The FBI shared a list of some of the spoofed FBI-related internet domain names that it has identified, all of which could potentially be used to trick the general public. The domains listed included:

    agenciafbi.ga, infofbi-unit.com, authefbi.ga, fbi-intel.com, johnsonfbi.com, cyber-crime-fbi.org, fbikids.com, legalienfbi.com, fbi.camera, fbimaryland.org, plapper-fbi.com, fbi.cash, fbimaxwell.com, powerfulfbi.ninja, fbi.ca, fbimostwanted.info, us-fbigov.com, fbi.health, fbi-news.com, virtualfbi.com, fbi.studio, fbinews.ga, xalienfbi.com, fbi.systems, fbinews.online, x-alienfbi.com, fbi.xn--mgbayh7gpa, fbinigeria.org, fbi-fraud.com, fbi0.com, fbi-ny.com, fbidefense.com, fbibau.us, fbioffice.ml, fbienglish.com, fbi2.com, fbi-official.com, fbifrauddepartment.org, fbi-unit.net, fbiofficial.online, fbifraud.primebnkonline.com, fbi3262.live, fbione.com, fbiglobalgp.com, fbi7.cn, fbiopenthedoor.icu, fbigov.art, fbi9.com, fbiorganisation.online, fbi-gov.network, fbi9.me, fbiorganization.club, fbigrantinvestigation.com, fbiagent.online, fbipedophilerings.com, fbiinspectionunit.com, fbi-augustyn.pl, fbiphoto.com, fbi-police.com, fbiaustralia.com, fbireserveco.biz, fbi-c-d.com.co, fbibau.de, fbireport.us, fbicyberdivision.com, fbi-bau.de, fbiusagov.online, hdqkfbi.cn, fbi-biz.com, fbiurl.com, ic-fbi.org, fbiboston.xn--mgbayh7gpa, fbiusagov.com, fbiwarning.club, fbi-c.com.co, fbiusgov.com, and fbi-cd.com.co

A user tricked into visiting a lookalike FBI website might be lulled into a false sense of security and mistakenly enter personal information, or be tricked into downloading malicious content onto their computer.

Such an attack could steal sensitive data such as passwords, or dupe users into infecting their computers with malware.

In addition, the FBI warns that members of the public could “unknowingly visit spoofed domains while seeking information regarding the FBI’s mission, services, or news coverage.”

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We have enough misinformation spreading across the internet at the moment, the FBI is clearly keen that no-one tries to disseminate false information which pretends to come under their umbrella.

The FBI makes the following general recommendations to the internet-using public, while advising them to critically evaluate the websites they visit:

  • Verify the spelling of web addresses, websites, and email addresses that look trustworthy but may be imitations of legitimate election websites.
  • Ensure operating systems and applications are updated to the most current versions.
  • Update anti-malware and anti-virus software and conduct regular network scans.
  • Do not enable macros on documents downloaded from an email unless absolutely necessary, and after ensuring the file is not malicious.
  • Do not open emails or attachments from unknown individuals. Do not communicate with unsolicited email senders.
  • Never provide personal information of any sort via email. Be aware that many emails requesting your personal information may appear to be legitimate.
  • Use strong two-factor authentication if possible, using biometrics, hardware tokens, or authentication apps.
  • Use domain whitelisting to allow outgoing network traffic to websites that are deemed safe.
  • Disable or remove unneeded software applications
  • Verify that the website you visit has a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

One comment on “FBI warns of criminals spoofing its website domain names”

  1. The FBI (and every other U.S. government website should only have ever been allowed to be established in the .gov domain. I personally think that city, county, and state government websites should also only have ever been allowed to be created in .gov.

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