ohare-airport.org link scam: phishing for pagerank

I discovered an interesting link scam in my inbox this morning, with the subject line “New Chicago O’Hare International Airport website”. The message informed me that Chicago O’Hare Airport has a new website at ohare-airport.org, and asked me to update my link to the airport. The link points to a pretty credible looking site, with arrivals and departures information, ground transportation, and even a privacy policy (!) The only clue that something’s wrong is the very vague copyright information (“© Airport Administration Services”) and the lack of a phone number or mailing address on the contact page.

I run a community airport website named OurAirports, so it’s not unusual for me to get e-mail from smaller airports and flying clubs with updates, but big airports have never bothered with me.

As one would expect, O’Hare Airport’s existing web site makes no mention of a new, updated site. In this scam the scammer is not phishing for personal information or trying to scam money, but instead, is trying to get pagerank over the official O’Hare site by tricking thousands of sites into providing links.

What are they looking for? Given that the e-mail traces back to a site called huntparking.com, I’ll guess that they want to use the web traffic either to sell ads for airport parking or to sell their own parking.

The e-mail and whois info are below. Nicely done, by the way — the fake site is much better designed than O’Hare’s real site, and even the markup snippet in the e-mail is XHTML-compatible. Perhaps O’Hare Airport should consider hiring the designer instead of bringing charges.

The message

From: "Chicago O'Hare Airport"
To: [removed]
Subject: New Chicago O'Hare International Airport website
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain;
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
X-Mailer: Microsoft Windows Mail 6.0.6001.18000
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.0.6001.18049
X-AntiAbuse: This header was added to track abuse, please include it with any abuse report
X-AntiAbuse: Primary Hostname - host.huntparking.com
X-AntiAbuse: Original Domain - ourairports.com
X-AntiAbuse: Originator/Caller UID/GID - [47 12] / [47 12]
X-AntiAbuse: Sender Address Domain - ohare-airport.org

To whom it may concern:

We are proud to announce the launch of the new Chicago O'Hare =
International Airport website www.ohare-airport.org. It provides =
comprehensive real time flight information on arrivals, departures and =
delays, terminals and maps, parking, transportation, directions, food =
and shopping, hotels, etc.

If you find our website to be of value to you and your readers, we would =
appreciate it if you could add a link to us at your URL =
http://www.ourairports.com/airports/KORD/ where, in our opinion, it =
would be the most relevant.=20

Alternatively, you can utilize the customized link code provided below =
(just cut and paste):

Chicago O'Hare =
If you have any questions, please, do not hesitate to contact us. Thank =
you for your time and consideration.

Kind regards,

Natalia Klimovich
Website Administrator

Whois Information for ohare-airport.org

Domain ID:D155295366-LROR
Created On:07-Feb-2009 08:45:01 UTC
Last Updated On:09-Apr-2009 03:54:26 UTC
Expiration Date:07-Feb-2010 08:45:01 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:GoDaddy.com, Inc. (R91-LROR)
Registrant ID:GODA-059235088
Registrant Name:Alexei Pavlovitch
Registrant Street1:240 E Illinois
Registrant Street2:apt 1202
Registrant Street3:
Registrant City:Chicago
Registrant State/Province:Illinois
Registrant Postal Code:60611
Registrant Country:US
Registrant Phone:+1.3125936015
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX:
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Registrant Email:alex.pavlovitch@gmail.com
Admin ID:GODA-259235088
Admin Name:Alexei Pavlovitch
Admin Street1:240 E Illinois
Admin Street2:apt 1202
Admin Street3:
Admin City:Chicago
Admin State/Province:Illinois
Admin Postal Code:60611
Admin Country:US
Admin Phone:+1.3125936015
Admin Phone Ext.:
Admin FAX:
Admin FAX Ext.:
Admin Email:alex.pavlovitch@gmail.com
Tech ID:GODA-159235088
Tech Name:Alexei Pavlovitch
Tech Street1:240 E Illinois
Tech Street2:apt 1202
Tech Street3:
Tech City:Chicago
Tech State/Province:Illinois
Tech Postal Code:60611
Tech Country:US
Tech Phone:+1.3125936015
Tech Phone Ext.:
Tech FAX:
Tech FAX Ext.:
Tech Email:alex.pavlovitch@gmail.com
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:

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7 Responses to ohare-airport.org link scam: phishing for pagerank

  1. Jan! says:

    detroit-airport dot org is the same thing.

  2. Brandon says:

    I didn’t see that they were asking to “update the link”. Just said that they launched a “new website”, which is not the same as the official site. I think you read too much into it.

  3. david says:

    Brandon: not just “a new web site”, but “the new Chicago O’Hare International Airport website.” It’s possible that there’s enough weasel room there to survive a court action, but there’s no question that the intent of the e-mail is to deceive.

  4. Hiberya says:

    interesting, I’m confised.

    michigan-airport dot com net org are the same thing

  5. david says:

    Hiberya: the real site for the Detroit Airport is metroairport.com.

  6. Alla says:

    Google ohare , you will run across other o-hare airport websites that are “unofficial”, like this one: http://www.chicago-ord.com/, which the city of Chicago site also doesn’t mention (why would they,if they want people to go to their site?)

    Also, if you look at the bottom of the main page, you will see the following message “This website is a privately owned independent guide to Chicago O’Hare International Airport designed to provide accurate and comprehensive information for the travelers. We are in no way associated with or authorized by the Chicago Airport System and neither that entity nor any of its affiliates have licensed or endorsed us.”

    Moreover, i know the people that put the site together, it’s not a phishing site.

  7. david says:

    Thanks, Alla. There are two points to consider:

    1. That disclaimer wasn’t there when I made the original posting.

    2. Review the e-mail that I quote in the posting. Whether the site designer was phishing or not, the author of the e-mail definitely was.

Comments are closed.