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Yet Another Apple Phish and Some DNS Lessons Learned From It

Published: 2017-04-18
Last Updated: 2017-04-18 16:14:32 UTC
by Johannes Ullrich (Version: 1)
6 comment(s)

Our reader Charlie forwarded us a somewhat interesting Apple phish. Apple is a big phishing target, and the phish itself wasn't all that special. It does a reasonable good job emulating real Apple e-mails, but what is more interesting are the "From" address and the URL of the link:

The "From" address was set to . For the uninitiated, this may look like a valid Apple domain. But instead, it is a subdomain of "". is of course not the valid source of the e-mail. But why did this e-mail make it past SPF filters? does define an SPF record:

v=spf1 ip4: ip4: ~all

The record contains a common error: In the end, the "~" ahead of "all" indicates a "soft fail". In essence, this may short-out the SPF definition. There is also no DMARC record for this domain. The "~" is often added to prevent false positives, for example, if companies are afraid that they didn't capture all the mail servers sending e-mail on their behalf. While this may be a good idea initially, it should be removed later.

Next, the link leads to The domain is not associated with Apple. The web page is still up (but blocklisted), and provides a good copy of the genuine Apple login page. 

Interesting about this domain: It was registered back in January. So the bad guy put some work into this to avoid some "recently registered domain" filters.

So lessons learned:

  • Make sure your SPF record ends with -all not ~all (subtle but important)
  • When hunting for bad domains, details matter and the registration date may not be enough to find malicious domains.


Johannes B. Ullrich, Ph.D. , Dean of Research, SANS Technology Institute

Keywords: apple phishing
6 comment(s)
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