I’ve just received a malicious Christmas card – in June!

Christmas in the sunWe’re having an uncharacteristically sunny June day here in Britain, making it feel all the more incongruous to see Christmas cards are being sent out via email.

But you should be careful, because these aren’t just badly timed emails wishing you season’s greetings – these emails have a malicious payload designed to infect your Windows computers.

Here’s a typical example of the type of message that has been intercepted by SophosLabs:

Subject: You have received a Christmas Greeting Card!

Message body:
You have just received a Christmas greeting card!
To see your custom card and who sent it, please click the attachment

Attached file: Christmas Card.zip

Christmas card malicious email

Although the email claims to come from 123greetings, a legitimate and well-known ecard website, the reality is that the bad guys have forged the headers in this email in an attempt to trick you into clicking on the attachment.

The danger is, of course, that you may be bemused by the notion of receiving a Christmas card in June and click on the attachment out of curiousity. That would be a big mistake, however, as it contains the Mal/CryptBox-A Trojan horse.

So you should have trusted your instincts. There’s always going to be something odd about a Christmas card arriving in June – and like any other unsolicited attachment it should be approached with caution.

Make sure that your anti-virus software and email protection is in place, and make sure you’ve had a good healthy helping of common sense next time you receive an out-of-season greeting.

Gift card from your friend? Beware spammed out malware attack

Cybercriminals are attempting to infect email users by spamming out a malware attack, posing as a gift card from a friend.

SophosLabs has intercepted a malicious spam campaign that has hit inboxes around the world, with a Trojan horse attached as a .PIF file.

Gift card for you malicious email

Subject: GIFT-CARD FOR YOU [number]
Attached file: gift-card.pif

Message body:
Hello! You Received GiftCard From your Friend,
Check it in Attached

With Best Regards,
Giftcard.com

Another version, with slight wording and typographical differences, reads:

Subject: GIFT-CARD From Your Friend [number]
Attached file: gift-card.pif

Message body:
Hi! You Received GiftCard From your Friend,

Check it in Attached
With Best Wishes,
giftCard.com

Many Windows users may not realise that just because a file has a .PIF extension doesn’t make it any less executable, or any less of a risk to their computer. Opening the file will infect unprotected Windows computers with the Troj/Agent-RNY Trojan horse.

The only defence for users is an up-to-date anti-virus product and a healthy skepticism about unsolicited emails which arrive out of the blue in their inbox.