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More Dirty Tricks - Spam / Viruses Pose as Breaking News
It's always fun to review the latest junk messages that SpamButcher has picked up. Here are a few recent subject lines:
Saddam Hussein alive!
Chinese missile shot down USA satellite
U.S. Southwest braces for another winter blast
I'm pretty sure the first two stories are bogus - the last one is a bit subjective.
What I am sure of is that none of these messages contain any content having anything to do with the subject lines.
They certainly sound like compelling news stories though. That's why they caught my attention when scanning over the hundreds of other blocked messages. If they made it to my inbox, there's a pretty good chance I'd be curious enough to at least open them.
These unwanted mail messages aren't the standard spam pitching generic drugs or OEM software. It would seem the sender has something a little more sinister in mind. In fact - the only thing that the actual messages include are attached .EXE files with titles like, "READMORE.EXE".
So - if you want the inside scoop on Saddam Hussein's miraculous recovery after being hanged - just open up READMORE.EXE.
I don't know what READMORE.EXE does, but I'm pretty sure it's not good. My guess is that it's either a spyware / adware installer (refered to some more generically as "Badware"), or joins your computer up to a botnet.
Fortunately, recent versions of Outlook block users from opening such files unless they make some registry tweaks. At SpamButcher we've configured our anti-spam utility to block all messages with certain red-flag attachments like EXE, SCR and PIF by default. Since the filter can miss messages due to timing issues, you may want to consider using supplemental anti-virus software.
I'd love to think that everyone in the world at this point knows better than to open an .EXE file sent to them in email. The truth is this isn't the case. About 2 years ago I spent 3 hours cleaning up my father's system from a mess created by similar messages. I'll spare him the embarrassment of going into the details.