- by John Lister on 20110107 @ 12:11AM EST
Microsoft is today warning users of fake security alerts arriving via email. Microsoft is reminding users that it never sends out security alerts with attachments via email and that you should never open such an email if it arrives in your inbox.
Microsoft Email Security Updates Are a Scam
Cyber-criminals have been sending a so-called Microsoft updates that are actually viruses.
This scam in particular takes advantage of Microsoft's well-established Patch Tuesday schedule for monthly email updates. Potential victims receive an email purporting to be from Microsoft's Director of Security Assurance, Steve Lipner (who in fact does hold that role).
The recipient is then told to install the attached file, KB453396-ENU.exe (or a similar name), which is supposed to be the security update.
Worm, Virus Replicates Itself, Sends to Contact List
The email attachment (.EXE file) is actually a worm / virus, meaning that once it is installed on a users' PC, it will attempt to replicate itself by sending a copy of the infected attachment to all users on the host PC's contact list (address book).
The idea is to get the worm / virus on as many machines as possible in order to become part of a botnet. The botnet is then used to attack websites, corporate structures, and is even sold to other online criminals for their evil-doing."
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