Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Our business is, an online store for gift cards, two days ago someone created a website that's called (You is missing the u), and sent a mail campaign to many people that there is a promotion on the website, when you go to the website you (as professional IT people) would immediately identify it as a scam site, many people won't anyway, so they'd transact on that site, and they won't receive anything they paid for.

So we switched to panic mode to try and figure out what to do, and what I did as a CTO is:

  1. Reported the website to PayPal (the only payment method available on the site), but apparently it takes long time and many disputed transactions to close a website.
  2. Reported the website to the domain registration company, they cooperated but stopping the website needs a legal order from a court or the ICANN.
  3. Reported the website to the hosting company, no response yet.
  4. Checked the WHOIS data, it's invalid they copied our company info and changed two digits in the postal code and the phone number.
  5. Reported the website to local police in Dubai but it also takes a lot of time and investigations to block a website.
  6. Sent an email to our customer base telling them to be aware and always check they're on our HTTPS site and check the domain name when they're purchasing.

My main concern was that many people who reported they got the email (more than 10) are on our mailing list, so I was afraid somebody has got some information out of our server, so I:

  1. Checked the system access log to make sure no one accessed our SSH.
  2. Checked the database access log to make sure no one tried and accessed our DB.
  3. Checked the firewall log to make sure no one accessed the server anyhow.

After that my concern switched to the mailing software we're using to send our email campaigns, we used MailChimp before and I don't think they would have accessed it, but now we're using Sendy, and I was afraid they accessed it, I checked the site forum and couldn't find that anyone has reported a vulnerability using Sendy, and also many emails registered in our mailing list reported they didn't get the email from the fraud site, so I got a little bit comfortable that no body got to our data.

So my questions are:

  1. What more can I do to make sure that no one got hold of our mailing list or data?
  2. What more can I do to report and maybe take down the site?
  3. Is there a panic mode list when you suspect unauthorized access to your server or data?
  4. How can you prevent future incidents like this?
share|improve this question
Aaaaarghhh background sound on website.... 1999 called and wants their pages back. – Dennis Kaarsemaker Dec 24 '13 at 13:35
For the sake of your customers, you should make them aware via your own email campaign and also put up a status on your site. You should make it clear within your email, your own site has NOT been compromised until you can find further evidence. – Cold T Dec 24 '13 at 14:49
@ColdT that can also be very counterproductive: you're now spamming all your customers, including the ones that didn't get mail from these tricksters. – Dennis Kaarsemaker Dec 24 '13 at 15:57
merry xmas : Don't forget to ask a bonus for yourself and coworker for implication on such #day – user130370 Dec 24 '13 at 19:34
I was told that an erroneous whois information could be a sufficient reason for a takedown. Might be the simplest way. – aif Dec 25 '13 at 12:19
  • question 2

It looks like the name servers and actual host for YOGOTAGIFT.COM are registered through ENOM, Inc. The site is hosted at EHOST-SERVICES212.COM. Try sending both spam reports and DMCA takedown notices to eNom and the server host. eNom abuse page is

  • question 4 : Honeytokens

Seed your mailing list and database with one or more fake accounts that direct to email addresses or payment accounts you control.

If you get email or charges to the fake account, you can reasonably suppose the mailing list or database has been compromised.

See the Wikipedia article on honeytokens.

share|improve this answer
+1 for honeytokens. They seem to be a great unknown feature! – user130370 Dec 24 '13 at 20:42
I already submitted a spam report to the hosting company (eNom) but their reply, I got the reply from them today, they won't do anything. +1 for honeytokens but I already have 6 emails in the mailing list and none got the email campaign from the fraudster, that's why I was relieved that probably they didn't get the mail list. – mpcabd Dec 25 '13 at 6:53

Seems you did really well so far.

Here are a few more hints :

  • 1 What more can I do to make sure that no one got hold of our mailing list or data?

Read application log, if any.

  • 2 What more can I do to report and maybe take down the site?

Make a whois on their IP adress and contact their ISP( according to comments "get your lawyer to draw up a 'cease and desist' type of letter threatening legal action"). In this case ENOM and DemandMedia.


Report the scammer's site to as many institutions as possible (mozilla, google, ...) : They can add warnings in their applications to help mitigating the scam.

Make a dedicated web page on your site telling about this story.

  • 3 Is there a panic mode list when you suspect unauthorized access to your server or data?

Be sure to also read How do I deal with a compromised server? . There are lots of good advices in this question, even if your server has not been compromised indeed.

  • 4 How can you prevent future incidents like this? Educate your customer on the way you usually behave (eg : "We won't ever send mail content directly but rather a link you a custom page on our website")
share|improve this answer
I don't think this is a compromised system issue, unless the OP is certain that their mailing list is compromised. I think this is just the traditional scam job of catching people who mis-spell a website address. – RobM Dec 24 '13 at 13:46
Add onto @EricDannielou if you find that the ISP is in the same country as you, get your lawyer to draw up a 'cease and desist' type of letter threatening legal action. 9 times out of 10 that takes care of the matter at the ISP source. – Techie Joe Dec 24 '13 at 14:32

It's hard to get a spoof/fraud site taken down, not impossible but usually very hard. There are third parties like MarkMonitor who can help out with this, but they are expensive. We've found them rather effective though, especially if the fraud side is clearly fraud/impersonating.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.