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Beware Bogus E-Valentines

If you want to express your affection for someone this Valentine's Day, try to find a more original way to do it than by sending e-greeting cards. You could be training your loved one to respond to scammers who are quite actively using fake electronic cards as a ruse to install malicious software.

As I've noted before, I've never been a huge fan of the online greeting card business, principally because e-cards condition people to click on links in e-mails they weren't expecting, which is almost universally a bad idea. Cyber crooks - most notably the author(s) of the Storm worm - have already begun blasting out malicious links disguised as e-Valentines. Some, like those spotlighted by anti-virus maker F-Secure, arrive as cute or lovey-dovey HTML images. Others, like this still-active scam that pretends to be a Hallmark e-greeting card, spoof the legitimate companies that run the biggest e-card delivery businesses.

A spokesperson for American Greetings said the company is on track to process more than 6.5 million Valentine e-greetings cards this year. Hallmark didn't get back to me, but they're probably handling a similar number.

If you receive one of these greeting cards, delete them if they don't include a name you recognize in the subject field of the e-mail, as most legitimate e-greetings now include this simple precaution. If you're reasonably sure that the invitation is legitimate, avoid clicking on the link in the e-mail. Instead, copy the retrieval code included in the message and then type the address of the e-greeting provider into a Web browser. Once you're at the site, paste the code into the card pickup field. Both AmericanGreetings.com and BlueMountain.com have the retrieval links on their home pages; Hallmark's is here.

Update, 8:10 p.m. ET: Sunbelt Software just posted a writeup about an e-greeting scam that uses a very clever spoof on the AmericanGreetings brand, including a link to a counterfeit AmericanGreetings Web site. Also, the SANS Internet Storm Center looks at the various Valentine greetings sent by the Storm worm.

By Brian Krebs  |  February 13, 2008; 11:17 AM ET
Categories:  Fraud , From the Bunker , Latest Warnings , Safety Tips  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Microsoft's Valentine: 17 Security Updates
Next: Fake Prez. Campaign Video Spreads Malware

Comments

How about making your own card out of recycled magazines? There are lots of thoughtful and sexy things you can do this Valentines Day that don't require buying anything, which cuts down on manufacturing, packaging, and shipping waste.

http://www.greenpieceblog.com/2008/02/share-greener-love-this-valentines-day.html

Posted by: Brandon | February 13, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

hi

you can also send a love letter
www.sendyourloveto.com

it's easy and romantic

Posted by: lora | February 14, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

The article posted by Washington Post was ceratinly enlightning! Others might be familiar with such, but for me even the idea like copying the retrieval code included in the message to type the address of the e-greeting provider into a Web browser to view the e-card and thus be less vulnerable to the crooks was a lesson to learn and pass on. Thanks. EK

Posted by: EK | February 14, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

To elaborate on EK's post above, the method of manually typing in a vendor's web site address rather than clicking on e-mail or IM-based links a great method of countering the trick of a disguised URL.

Another method of countering spammers and scammers' methods is to pick up the phone and call the person who sent you the e-mail. Hearing somebody's voice can be much more romantic than reading a bunch of pixels on a screen. :)

Posted by: C.B. | February 14, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

For all my greeting cards, I use- exclusivly -jacquielawson.com in U.K.
So far, I have had no complaints from receipiants except where they did not have "Flash Player" on board.
I have used them for nearly 10 years and, to my knowledge, so far, they've had no problem with hackers.
I feel it is well worth the U.S. $15.00/2 years.

Posted by: PeteBB | February 14, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Or, just buy a Mac and stop worrying about st00pid Windoze virii... :P

Piko

Posted by: Piko | February 14, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

All good advice, I suppose, but I was more impressed before I finished scrolling down the page and discovered ads for e-cards.
I would have been even more impressed if the good advice had been issued yesterday, before many people had already received inboxes full of e-cards

Posted by: dijit44 | February 14, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

jacquielawson.com in U.K. is a must. Yes, it's $15.00 for 2 years, but NO COMMERCIALS and beautiful cards!

Posted by: Roger | February 21, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I just got a virus from a bluemountain email. I had to system restore to get rid of it. The virus caused a page to come up when I went to 'my eBay' or tried to sign in to paypal - the page was titled identity assurence (note the misspelling) and required me to put in all my personal info including credit card and SS number to proceed. Of course I looked at the address bar and didn't do it. The web address was http://www.xktuie98sh.kit.net/sadjkh34f8907xjh/index.php/empresa03/‏
Since the system restore my ebay and paypal behave properly, but I changed my passwords anyway.

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