It's Another Security Article!
Long gone are the days when internet thievery, creepery, and troll parties haunted mostly the fringes of porn, gambling, and psychic friends websites. And no wonder. Crooks and scammers may be low-life jackasses, but some of them are pretty sharp. Luckily, since they aren't, for the most part, holding down real jobs, they have ALL DAY to figure out and perfect ways to rip-off the busy working folks.
Today's internet is a lot like those fancy restaurants where Fight Club's Tyler Durden worked: Beautiful plate presentations, but woe to those who eat.
But the busy people, with more money than time, come in, order the beautiful and safe looking food, eat, and pay, totally unaware that they've just eaten at least a small bit of the most vile filth.
Earlier this Spring, some very clever folks started sending out malicious emails that appeared very safe and appealing to busy folks trying to get things done. The emails in this case looked like "EFax" notifications. The idea was that the email would look real enough and busy folks would click on it to get their fax; except, there was no fax. What the people got was a trojan infection.
The clever crooks learned that "efaxes" could be "zipped" - that is, compressed. People who actually use the EFax service were used to getting compressed fax files and then un-zipping them. For a crook, this is like shooting fish in a barrel. It's like getting people to rob themselves voluntarily, if unaware.
A crook or other hacker can take a legit word document or any other file and attach a small bit of executable code to it - a piece of malware. He then "zips" the files, which masks the malware. This zipped file is then sent to the intended victim. During the un-zipping process, most operating systems will warn the user of potential dangers, but once the user hits that confirmation button to proceed, he has just instructed his computer to execute the code the hacker gift wrapped for him.
The catch: These scam emails are back in circulation, and if you check your "SPAM" folder, heck, you might see some in there right now. This is because most services and web mail providers are all over this threat. They put it in your spam box for you. But let's just say your business is waiting on an important fax that has not come through yet. What do we do? We look for it.
"Check your "Spam Folder", someone advises.
And you know what just happened......
1) Don't trust zipped files, or .rar or other compressed goods.
2) If you MUST check them out:
a) Go to a non-critical computer.
b) Download the file.
c) Scan the file with a current, top shelf anti-virus, like Webroot.
d) Take the computer off line and isolate it from all other networks (WAN and LAN).
e) Exercise your curiosity and unpack the file. With any luck, you'll be the hero who found that missing fax :)
f) Scan the unpacked file, just to be sure.
3) Train busy team members who are busting a$s to keep the team on top. Nothing breaks up the momentum like a security breach and system downtime.