Fake Windows patch e-mail leads to Trojan horse attack

"Microsoft Security Bulletin MS07-0065 -- Critical Update" links to trojan horse download

Messages insisting that users install a just-released Microsoft security update are bogus and actually lead to a site that plants malicious code on PCs, several security companies warned Wednesday.

The spam, which touts "Microsoft Security Bulletin MS07-0065 -- Critical Update" as its subject and appears to come from "update@microsoft.com," claims users should download a June 18 security patch and provides a link to a URL that looks legit.

"A new 0-day vulnerability has appeared in the wild," the message reads. "The vulnerability affects machines running MICROSOFT OUTLOOK and allows an attacker to take full control of the vulnerable computer if the exploitation process is succesfull [sic]." It goes on to boast that 100,000 PCs have been hijacked so far by unnamed malware exploiting the bug.

However, the link takes users to one of several different attack sites that download a Trojan horse to the machine. "Security bulletins from Microsoft describing vulnerabilities in their software are a common occurrence," noted Graham Cluely, a Sophos analyst, in a statement today. "[But] by using people's real names, the Microsoft logo and legitimate-sounding wording, the hackers are attempting to fool more people into stepping blindly into their bear trap."

The SANS Institute's Internet Storm Center and Symantec's DeepSight threat network have also issued alerts on the fraudulent messages.

Playing the legitimacy card is an important "scam-spammer" technique, James Blascovich, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said yesterday in a just-released paper on the mind games attackers play to persuade people that it's safe to open suspicious e-mail. The fake security alert, for example, refers to "Genuine Microsoft Software," a phrase the company itself heavily promotes; uses the recipient's first name in the body of the message; and includes a purported product registration key.

Alert users, however, will be immediately suspicious of the message -- and not just because of the typical-for-spam misspellings -- but because it labeled the update "MS07-0065." So far this year, Microsoft has only reached MS07-035 in its numbering system.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?