Not too long ago, there was a spell where I repeatedly received virus-laden email with titles such as ‘you look really stupid fracas’ or ’fracas is a moron’ and the like. The mail consisted of nothing but a link to click on, and noting the .exe extension, it was easy to tell it was a virus. Obviously the creators of such garbage decided to play on the natural human tendency to want to confront someone unjustly speaking badly of you. I imagine they assumed many would be outraged at the malicious title of the email, and click the link to reply with venom and vindicate themselves, only to instead, become infected with whatever garbage lies waiting at the link source.
I conducted a brief inservice for all the fraccy children, and then warned fracas blog readers about it also. After a week or so of receiving repeated and similar emails, it died off.
Lately though, I’ve noticed the opposite ploy, as pictured here.
If you haven’t already, you may receive email indicating you have a greeting card waiting from ‘a friend‘ from a site that will probably have a generic sounding name. When you open the mail, you will be told to click the link to retrieve your card.
Please don’t do that. Stop, and check these items first:
- Does the mail indicate the name of someone you actually know as the sender? E-card sites typically ask who the card is from, and use that name in the sent message to give the receiver some added assurance. If the card is from ‘a friend’ it is probably not a friend at all.
- Does the name of the site sound familiar? If not, open a new window (or tab) and do a google search on the name of the e-card site sender first. The site may actually be legitimate, but if the other warning factors are there, it might still be prudent not to click the link, and instead, look for a place at that site to submit feedback and ask if the link might be malicious.
- Does the link to retrieve your card end with .exe? If it does, there is no need to click on it at all. There is no reason for an e-card to arrive with an .exe extension. It is going to be something malicious. If you’ve done the second step and noted that the name of the site sending the card is in fact, a legitimate e-card site and your link does have an .exe extension, then the site’s name is being spoofed and misused. The owners of a legitimate site will want to know this. Use their feedback or contact information from the site you’ve opened in a new window to inform them so they can take steps to deal with the fraud against them. Do not, however, click anything in the email you received unless you enjoy being a complete fool and suffering the consequences of a malicious attack against your personal computer.
You’ll see that above, I’ve included a screen capture of the email I received. Yours may not look exactly the same, but hopefully, reading this will have helped you avoid some nasty event. If you have children or teens using your computer, who are allowed to have their own email addresses, it is imperative that you help them understand this as well.
It could mean the difference between your enjoying computer heaven or suffering computer hell.
If you’ve received something similar, take a moment and leave a comment explaining the ploy you’ve received, to get you to click on an .exe extension in an email. We’d love for you to share your story too!
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