One More Reason to Fear Microsoft

Dennis Faas's picture

Although they certainly take a lot of heat from competitors like Google, Apple, or even the Vista-buying public, Microsoft is one of the most iconic and arguably trustworthy names in tech.

That's currently working against web mail users, many of which are being duped by a security threat that disguises itself as a Microsoft update.

Compared to most spam threats, this one is particularly brilliant (and thus, dangerous). The fake emails, which carry and install malware, are actually personalized for the unlucky recipient. According to security company Internet Storm Center, the victim's first (or even full) name will appear in the email, which is addressed from "Microsoft Corp"

The message itself is equally deceiving. It warns users that they are susceptible to a Microsoft Outlook hack that could allow an attacker to take complete control of their PC. (Source:

Although they are less prominent than most emails of this kind, grammatical errors exist. Both "Outlook" and "successful" are misspelled, and are signs that the message has nothing to do with Microsoft.

Be warned. Not paying attention to such grammatical errors and downloading the attached file will install a Trojan on the user's computer.

Most concerning may be the steady improvement of such threats; this case in particular combines a recognizable name and a substantial risk. Those behind email attacks are becoming more and more aware of what the average user might click on, and by using the Microsoft name they've hijacked a particularly powerful weapon. (Source:

If these goons ever learn to spell, we'll really be in trouble.

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