Apple iPhone 5 buyers hit by shipping notification scam

iPhone 5

Consumers anxiously waiting to get their hands on the new Apple iPhone 5 are being targeted by email scammers, Websense Security Labs has warned.

The web security firm claims to have intercepted more than 45,000 fake shipping notification emails purporting to be from courier firm UPS, who has been entrusted with handling iPhone 5 deliveries.

The emails reportedly redirect users to a website preloaded with a Blackhole Exploit kit that could allow the scammers to gain control of the victim's computer.

The iPhone 5 is potentially the most popular handset of all time.

In a blog post, announcing the scam's discovery, Websense explained: "There's a hidden, obfuscated script on the page...that loads an iframe from a .RU domain, which is a Blackhole Exploit kit site that pushes a banking Trojan to the PC.

"The phrase used for the .RU domain translates to 'money on account'...there is no doubt that the motivation for this exploit is financial," the post added.

The iPhone 5 goes on general release tomorrow and is expected to be a massive seller for Apple, after 2 million of the devices were pre-ordered within 24 hours of its launch last week.

Elad Sharf, senior security researcher at Websense, said end users should not let their excitement about the iPhone 5 cloud their online judgement.

"The iPhone 5 is potentially the most popular handset of all time. This huge interest means that people are understandably very keen to get their hands on their new device. However, this eagerness shouldn't make you drop your guard," he said.

The company is also advising consumers that are waiting to receive a shipping notification from UPS to treat the email with caution and not to download any attachments associated with it.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.