Dangerous viruses and phishing e-mails doing the rounds

from the July 2005 Newsletter

phishrobbersmaller.jpg (7348 bytes)The last month or so has been a real doozy for viruses. A couple of variants on some well-known ones have had a resurgence and have been producing some rather nasty e-mails. Once these viruses are able to infect a machine, they cause it to send e-mails out to every e-mail address they can find. We're able to catch most of these by using our CyberScan anti-virus system, but there are new variants all the time and a few manage to slip through to users before our system is aware of them.

These particular nasties often come to you as if they were sent from your ISP. One variant appeared to come from the address webmaster@actrix.co.nz and simply stated "We regret to inform you that your account has been suspended due to the violation of our site policy, more info is attached." But, of course, the attachment wasn't more information, it was a virus.

Another variant appeared to come from administrator@actrix.co.nz and said: "In order to safeguard your mailbox from unexpected termination, please read the attached document." Again the attachment was a virus. In a further attempt to hoodwink the recipient, this nefarious little e-mail also included  the words: "++ Attachment: No Virus found" and contained a working link to the Symantec (Norton Anti-Virus) web site.

Please be assured that Actrix staff will not send you attachments to their e-mails unless they are the harmless html attachments that represent your invoices. You should be highly suspicious of anything you receive that you didn't ask for which an attachment; even if it does purport to come to you from someone you would normally trust. If you're unsure, call our help desk on 0800-228749 and ask some questions before you click anything.

Yet another nasty e-mail that occasionally slips through will ask you to go to a certain site to enter your log in user name and password in order to "confirm your account" or something. These e-mails usually warn you that something bad will happen if you don't - your account will be closed, or your mailbox won't work, etc.  What actually happens, however, is the page you go to to put your details into captures them for use by the writer of the virus.

Again, you should be highly suspicious of any e-mail that asks you out of the blue to go to a web page and enter your personal information. All the major reputable dotcom companies like eBay and PayPal, and all the online banks have it as a matter of policy never to send you such an e-mail. If you get one, therefore, you can be almost certain it is a phishing scam. Phishing is the term used to describe the practice of fooling you into handing over your personal details to someone who wants to use them illegally.

Just think how much better the world would be if these evil people used their powers and abilities for niceness.

Something Phishy Going On (from the August 2004 Newsletter)