Stratfor warns of fake emails sent to subscribers

Fri Jan 6, 2012 10:34pm GMT

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(Reuters) - Two weeks after disclosing that its website had been hacked, a private intelligence analysis firm on Friday warned subscribers that hackers were now circulating false emails offering the company's services for free.

Strategic Forecasting Inc, also known as Stratfor, urged subscribers not to open attachments to the fraudulent emails, which offered subscribers free access to the company's premium content as compensation while it tried to secure its website.

In an email, Stratfor Chief Executive George Friedman told subscribers that the email address being used was not his, and the company would never ask customers to provide personal information through an attachment.

"This email, and all similar ones, are false and attempt to prey on the privacy concerns of customers and friends," Friedman said in an email sent by the company to subscribers.

Friedman's email included a link to a YouTube video in which Fred Burton, the company's vice president of intelligence, asked people to monitor Stratfor's Facebook site and Twitter feed for company-approved communications.

Friedman said he deeply regretted any inconvenience caused by the latest incident and said the company was still working to reestablish its data systems and web presence.

Stratfor said it expects to reestablish its website soon after completion of "a thorough review and adjustment by outside experts." On December 28, it said it expected the process to be completed in about a week, but said it might take longer.

The fake email invited clients to provide feedback about the "recent intrusion by those deranged, sexually deviant criminal hacker terrorist masterminds," and provided both mobile and home phone numbers for Friedman.

While not offering free content, Stratfor has offered paying subscribers a year of free identity protection services by Austin-based CSID, which monitors websites and forums on which stolen information is exchanged or sold.

Late last month Stratfor disclosed that its website had been hacked and that some information about its corporate subscribers had been made public.

The hacking group known as Antisec has claimed responsibility for the attack and published what it claims are the names of thousands of corporate and government customers of Stratfor, as well as email addresses, passwords and credit card numbers of individual subscribers to Stratfor services. Customers on the list published by Antisec include Bank of America, Exxon Mobil Corp, Goldman Sachs & Co, Interpol, Thomson Reuters, the U.S. military and the United Nations.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa in Washington; Editing by John Wallace, Gary Hill)

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