Friday, July 21, 2006

Malicious Email

We all suffer from spam, and I suppose it gets to the point where you can get a bit blasé about the unwanted emails that land in our inbox every day. But I got one today that I decided to investigate a little further.

First of all it told me that I had purchased a product with my Visa Card... hmmm, well I don't have a Visa Card and the email came into an email account that I never use for online purchases, so I was ready to just bin the email.. but then it said that my invoice was in the attachment.... Well I had to have a look at that.

I fired up a Virtual Machine and did my best to open the attachment. Windows actually blocked it, told me it was an unsafe file!!! Well done Windows XP, as you can see, straight away there are major advantages to running a fully patched system. However in the interest of research I got around the block and opened the file.. then activated the attachment. I ended up with a password stealing trojan lurking on my test machine!!

It goes without saying that spam or malicious email should never be treated lightly. There is some good advice at Get Safe Online on how to avoid spam and secure your computer against unwanted email.

Another good site that has come to my attention recently is Michael Horowitz's Example of Bad Email Messages.