Most spam e-mails are advertisements, with one goal only, to make money for the spammer. Malware spam often has the same goal in sight, but at the cost of your computer. Malware spam is also unpredictable and new variants appear overnight, much like malware itself.
Malware spam often possesses the following general characteristics:
- E-mail headers are often forged and include spoofed e-mail addresses of highly popular websites. The subject lines of these e-mails are very deceptive and enticing, provoking the user to open the e-mail spontaneously.
- The e-mail either has an attachment, normally a file with an .exe, .bat, .pif or .zip extension, or they contain links to executable files, or links to web pages that will launch the malicious code once you click on the link and allow the web page to open. These files either infect your computer with viruses, spyware, trojans, diallers or any other kind of malicious software.
- Malware spammers often hide the real link from the reader by using a different, most of the times invalid, URL in the anchor text of the link (the click able part of the link). Refer to simulation number two of the Online Threat Simulations for an illustration of how this works.
- Malware spam are either, sent by people who want to turn your PC into a zombie and make money from it, or it may be individuals who want to damage your computer just for fun.
It is critical that you have the latest anti-virus and anti-spyware applications installed on your computer, along with the latest security patches and updates for all your software, especially your e-mail client and Web browser.
Below are links to copies of typical virus, spyware and malware e-mails. Note that the original formatting of the e-mail was preserved to give you a good idea of what the e-mail looks like when you open it. The links in these examples have been removed for security reasons.
- Account Details Malware Spam
- Free Games Malware Spam
- Greeting Card Malware Spam
- Mail Server Report Malware Spam
- Online Shopping Malware Spam
- Special Event Malware Spam
- "Unable To View" Malware Spam
- YouTube Malware Spam