As Valentine’s Day nears, a security software maker is warning that some of those romantic greetings sent via email are actually malware in disguise.
AVG says because risky e-cards are typically made to look like they have been sent from a trusted friend, they fool the recipient into opening them.
Lloyd Borrett, Marketing Manager of AVG (AU/NZ), said, “Most people will automatically open an e-card if it’s from a friend or colleague. To protect yourself from unwanted attention from cyberspace, be very careful what e-cards you open and what you forward on.
“While receiving an anonymous card from a Valentine can be exciting, opening an anonymous email with ‘I Love You’ in the subject line could be courting disaster. Don’t let some nasty piece of malware worm its way into the heart of your computer.”
Only a tiny percentage of e-greetings will contain a security threat, but many PCs will be damaged or compromised. This results in not only lost documents, emails, photos and so on, but compromised PCs often become unwitting distributors of spam or their owners may become the target of identity theft.”
If you receive an unexpected Valentine via email, take the following precautions: 1. Don’t open attachments: legitimate e-cards should be links to a company Web site that then direct you to your card. 2. Identify legitimate messages. Don’t open any message with a disguised name, such as Your Friend or A Secret Admirer, or one from an unknown Web site address. Watch for misspelled words or names. 3. When in doubt, delete. It’s better to do that than open your system to a virus or spam. 4. Know where you’re going online. Use free security software that detects and blocks Web sites that push online scams, adware installations, attachments filled with viruses and other malicious downloads which could harm your system. 5. Always read the fine print before accepting any terms. Some e-card scams list in their terms that they can send email to everyone in your address book.