Ms. Ducktoes is in a flap and a flutter because right now there is a new type of spyware danger that is so new it is causing a bit of havoc and making all of us anti-spyware professionals work overtime. Thousands of computers are infected. Phoney e-mails that purport to be from friends or legitimate businesses encourage the victims to click a link. This will initiate a download of a most dangerous group of spyware and viruses. One is a trojan horse that lets the criminal hacker take over your computer and control it remotely. Others will install a back door in your computer that gives hackers access to do even more damage or add even more spyware. Still others tell you, in a warning on your desktop, that you have spyware, and try to get you to buy a rogue anti-spyware, that will give you even more malware.
I have received three of these phoney, dangerous e-mails. One told me a friend had sent me a Hallmark card that linked to a nasty download of binary code (trojan). I already wrote a blog about that one. Read it here.
Another, my cousin Jack warned his friends and family about, a postcard e-mail that links to a virus download. Here is his e-mail:
Please be careful of the upcoming virus.
Big Virus coming
Hi All, I checked with Norton Anti-Virus, and they are gearing up for this virus!
I checked Snopes (URL above:), and it is for real!!
Get this E-mail message sent around to your contacts ASAP.
PLEASE FORWARD THIS WARNING AMONG FRIENDS, FAMILY AND CONTACTS!
You should be alert during the next few days. Do not open any message with an attachment entitled ‘POSTCARD,’ regardless of who sent it to you. It
Is a virus which opens A POSTCARD IMAGE, which ‘burns’ the whole hard disc C of your computer.
This virus will be received from someone who has your e-mail address in his/her contact list. This is the reason why you need to send this e-mail to all your contacts It is better to receive this message 25 times than to receive the virus and open it.
If you receive a mail called’ POSTCARD,’ even though sent to you by a friend, do not open it! Shut down your computer immediately.
This is the worst virus announced by CNN. It has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive virus ever. This virus was discovered by McAfee yesterday, and there is no repair yet for this kind of virus.
This virus simply destroys the Zero Sector of the Hard Disc, where the vital
Nformation is kept.
COPY THIS E-MAIL, AND SEND IT TO YOUR FRIENDS. REMEMBER: IF YOU SEND IT
TO THEM, YOU WILL BENEFIT ALL OF US. “
While the e-mail is incorrect that the virus will burn a hole in your hard drive, it may cause you to have to get your hard drive reformatted, which will indeed burn all your data, which is essentially the same thing. Also it lets the attackers take control your computer. The trojan is very difficult to remove. The e-mail is confusing a few viruses and hoaxes but is a good warning nevertheless, since it lets everyone know not to open the postcard e-mails. I did receive one this week so it’s definitely making the rounds.
The third one I received–today–was supposedly from Paypal. It said my account had been limited. But the link to fix the account limitation problem was—again, you guessed it—a link to a download of nasty virus code.
So the Phishers and Hackers have stepped up their attacks with a new method. Instead of just getting your passwords and account numbers and credit card numbers as they do in regular phish e-mails and websites, now they give you an immediate download of binary code.
Please feel free to comment. I invite all comments. Or let me know what your experience is with e-card viruses. I’d really like to find out what is going on in the larger world.