E-Cards Eat Away At Computer Defenses

Dennis Faas's picture

Doesn't it make you feel good when a friend (or perhaps love interest) sends you a cheery, heart-felt e-card? In a world where Hallmark demands $5 or more for syrupy sympathy quotes, it's nice that there's a safe, electronic alternative.

But, how safe are e-cards?

According to one recent report, not very. Fake greetings are now making their way to unsuspecting victims via email, and it's unloading a plethora of new and nasty viruses on the computer of Joe Public. (Source: sj-r.com)

Although e-card viruses and Trojan threats are nothing new, this new form of greeting appears especially troubling. Security experts at Avinti are most concerned about the very text of these new e-cards; unlike those nasty messages in the past, these new ones use simple, plain text. That means they're not thoroughly scanned and sometimes not weeded out by antivirus or antispam filters.

According to Avinti chief technology officer Dave Green, "Apparently, they've found that they can be very successful in getting these through by not having it be formatted as an HTML message". Since most of the problem email e-cards use a link to rope victims in, all that's really necessary is a hint of curiosity for a Trojan or virus to infect a computer. (Source: pcworld.com)

Land of confusion

The most dangerous threats, be they viruses or phishing scams, are those that can mask themselves as legitimate operations. That's one of the reasons this new fake e-card campaign has such disastrous potential; Green finds that the culprits have nicely disguised themselves as some of the most popular greeting card companies currently on the web. That coupled with failing spam filters has been enough to dupe a concerning number of PC users.

So, what's being installed?

For those who've been keeping up with Infopackets news, it won't be surprising. As reported by Carlo Orlando a few weeks ago, variants of the "Storm" worm are behind the kind e-cards, a reality that should shock enough of us into being very careful with our inbox emotion.

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