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malicious email

July 20, 2011 at 5:51 am

A new malicious email is making the rounds. It is purportedly coming from financial institutions and the post office, and carries with it a malicious “exe” file as an attachment, disguised as a word document.

The attachment is aptly named “financial statement” or “postal document” which is a downloader trojan. Once executed, it copies itself onto the system, injects itself into the scvhost.exe file, and finally downloads a fake antivirus product called “Security Shield” (or a variant).

It then prominently displays the usual list of “fake-positive” antivirus results in an effort to convince the end user to purchase the full version.

TAKEAWAY – Email users need to be extra vigilant when going through their email. Do not open anything unless you are 100% certain you know the source of the email. Also, financial institutions or the post does not send sensitive correspondence to the end user by email.

“Traffic Ticket” spam/scareware

July 13, 2011 at 4:04 pm

The latest malicious email making its rounds is purportedly coming from New York State Police of all places.

The email indicates that the recipient has been caught speeding and has been served (by email — with a “ticket” attachment).  The attached .zip file contains an executable called ticket.exe. This file when executed, calls back to a remote server and downloads a rogue security app called “Windows XP fix”. 

 This rogue program used the same scare tactics used in other Rogue Apps. It prominently displays pop-ups indicating that it has detected critical errors (false-positives) on the computer’s hard drive. Of course, this is all fixed (in the users eyes) if they purchase the Advanced Module, which makes the errors magically disappear.

However, the underlying infection still resides on the user’s computer (in a dormant state), until its time to extract some more money.

5 invaluable tips for cleaning up your email messages

July 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Most of us are continuously bombarded by email throughout our day. We receive it, read it, compose it, reply to it and forward it. However, when it comes to replying to or forwarding emails, cleaning these messages up can go a long way in conveying professionalism to the recipient.

Here are 5 ways to accomplish this before hitting the “send” button.

  1. Remove all “>” characters. Although these characters are used to indicate forwarded text, they aren’t necessary, and tend to make a mess of an email if left in there.  Cleaning them up will make the email more legible.
  2. Clear Formatting. Sometimes the original formatting of an email is a mess. In cases like this, it’s a good idea to clear the formatting before forwarding it. This can be done by converting the email to Plain Text.
  3. Remove previous recipients. Is always a good idea to remove your contacts email addresses from the header. The best way to this is to delete the entire header. Forwarding emails with your contacts’ email addresses listed in the header is a violation of privacy.
  4. Update the subject. When forwarding an email, the subject gets a “FW:” placed into it. Do your recipeints a favour and restrict the subject line to one (1) “FW:”. They will appreciate the gesture.
  5. Delete signatures and disclaimers. Deleteing the signature and disclaimer lines is good practise when forwarding or replying to emails. These lines, effective as they are, tend to be nuisances when communication back and forth, or forwarding messages.

Follwing these five tips will ensure that your emails (whether forwarded or replied to) are as nicely formatted and presented asnewly composed ones.

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