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You Have Just Received a Greeting...er, Virus

The SANS Internet Storm Center is reporting -- for the second time in the past week -- that they are hearing from people who are being targeted by an e-mail scam that pretends to be an invitation to retrieve an online greeting card.  It turns out these invitations instead tried to download a "Trojan horse" onto the user's computer.

On March 31, SANS wrote about people receiving e-mails claiming to be an invitation to pick up a greeting from online card giant BlueMountain Arts, when in fact the message redirected recipients to a site created by the attackers to install malware on the visitor's machine. Sally Babcock, senior vice president for BlueMountain parent AmericanGreetings.com, said the company learned of the problem late last week and has heard from "less than a hundred" people who received the messages. Babcock said that unlike authentic BlueMountain greeting card invites, which come from the e-mail address of the person sending the greeting, the scam messages use a spoofed BlueMountain e-mail address.

A related e-mail scam that popped up Sunday arrives in with the message, "You have just received a virtual postcard from a family member!" Recipients who click on the embedded link are sent to a Web site that tries to install a Trojan that creates a "back door" that the scam authors can later use to control their computers.

We've said it before but it can't be repeated enough: Use extreme caution when clicking on links in e-mails!  Check out our tips for avoiding phishing and similar e-mail scams.

If you were one of the unlucky few who got tricked by this ruse, anti-virus software may mitigate -- if not completely obliterate -- the virus. If you don't have an anti-virus program, Panda Software has a very thorough and free online virus scanner that can detect and delete any viruses it find (the scan only works if you view the site with Internet Explorer).

By Brian Krebs  |  April 4, 2005; 4:20 PM ET
Categories:  Latest Warnings  
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