E-Greeting Cards May Be Nasty Virusgrams

    July 19, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

With electronic greeting cards gaining in popularity, malicious parties are sending out fake ones by the thousands.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Click on this link,
And you’ll be really sorry you did.

According to security software maker SurfControl, fake e-greeting cards have grown in appeal to criminals and other online attackers. Many people accustomed to receiving these cards will click on the links in messages announcing one has arrived without a second thought.

That can lead to big trouble. Simply looking at a message inviting someone to retrieve a card may not be enough to tell it is a fake. Click the link, and while a typical greeting appears on-screen, various pieces of criminal software downloads to the user’s machine.

Some software may function as a spam relay, turning the machine into a remotely controlled zombie that sends thousands of junk messages out. Other downloads may install keyloggers, which periodically send their logs back to a criminal recipient. Access a financial site online, and later so can the criminal.

SurfControl offers guidance to corporate users and administrators, like educating them on the dangers of email, and suggesting security measures for the gateway, network, and desktop.

Home users should take similar steps. Install firewall and antivirus software before connecting a new machine to the Internet for the first time. Discard questionable email messages, especially those with attachments coming from unknown sources.

Keep the computer up to date with the recommended security bulletins offered by the operating system vendor. That applies whether someone uses Windows, Mac, or Linux on their machines.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.