Tam Vu, Seek's chief information officer, told ZDNet Australia on Monday that the phishing attack was launched at the end of last week: "The attack took place on Friday morning and we are working with the appropriate authorities to work through the problem".
Vu said that he does not believe any of Seek's users have been duped into divulging their details: "To the best of our knowledge the answer is no -- we have run a number of reports regarding the performance of our Web site and our databases and so forth and at this stage we have not seen anything abnormal... most of our users will hopefully be aware that there is a phishing campaign".
A contributing factor to the apparent failure of this particular attack could be the poorly worded phishing e-mail: "SEEK's technical services department is carrying out a scheduled software upgrade to improve the quality of service for the SEEK's customers... We urgently request you to go to the link below and confirm your Advertiser details."
The e-mail links to a bogus site mimicking Seek that attempts to collect usernames and passwords. Armed with advertiser logins, criminals could potentially post fake job advertisements or other scams.
The domain hosting the fake site was registered in late 2005, and its IP address is listed on Whois servers as being located in Guangdong, China. Phishing is a widely acknowledged problem online, with banks and e-commerce sites such as eBay amongst the most frequent targets.
Seek's advertiser site includes a warning to ignore scam e-mails. "Seek will not ask you to verify personal details by e-mail," it reads. "Please ignore suspicious e-mails asking you to verify details or passwords." Unsurprisingly, that information is not included on the copycat site.
In 2004, the company warned job hunters not to fall for a money transfer scam which falsely claimed to have been backed by Seek. Seek claims to typically host more than 80,000 job advertisements at any one time and is ranked as Australia's top job search site by Nielsen/NetRatings.