Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Beware Email Scams

If this had been a true phishing attack, you would have just been infected by malicious code that would have exploited a flaw in your browser and installed some form of malware on your computer. Further, this page would have been made up to look like a real Snopes page so that you wouldn't have suspected that you had been deceived.

The idea of an attack like this occurred to me after reading the Snopes article Code Grabbers and Remote Keyless Entry. I had been sent the email that this article talks about, included in the email was the text "Snopes Approved". Being a skeptic, I checked it anyway. Just because something says it is approved, doesn't mean it is. My response when people send me any email is to check it myself. I then respond with the truth and include a link to Snopes. That is when this type of scam occurred to me. Create an email that looks like you are corrected a false message, but with a malware link, and phrased to get people to want to find out more.

Be warned, never just click on a link in any email you receive, no matter who it came from! Mouse over the link and see if it really goes to what you see. Better yet, copy the text you see and paste it into the browser address bar yourself.

The original fake scam email:


To: You
From: Random Name
Subject: FW: FW: Obama Acceptance Speech
Body:

Not being a trusting sort, I checked this out for myself at Snopes, and the truth is even worse than the claim. Check out the facts:

RE: http://blog.angells.com/ (The real fake had this URL as the hidden link, but showed the text "http://www.snopes.com/computer/virus/obamaspeech.asp")



From: John Doe
Sent: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 9:10 AM
To: Jane Smith
Subject: FW: Obama Acceptance Speech

This email came from a source at the Secret Service, so please be aware of any mails with the subject line below.

THERE IS AN EMAIL WITH SUBJECT LINE OBAMA ACCEPTANCE SPEECH FLOATING AROUND WITH A TROJAN HORSE ATTACHMENT.

DO NOT OPEN FOR ANY REASON. DELETE IMMEDIATELY.

THE TROJAN STEALS ALL PASSWORDS AND USER IDS.

SPREAD THE WORD.

Do not open ("Obama Acceptance Speech").

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