Who is Lavasoft Ad-ware?

Question

Actually a question and a warning I think you should alert all your users about. I submitted this for the radio program, but I haven't found a station here I can listen to it on.

Situation: I have Norton Antivirus 2003 enabled all the time. I do not open unknown attachments. Recently I've received several emails that purported to be notifications to me that messages I had sent had not been able to be delivered. The returned message I had supposedly sent was attached. I have opened such attachments in the past to see if my message had been important enough to try to resend some other way. Also, with our address books constantly growing, it's hard to remember every email address you send to.

However, I was supicious and did not open these. At first I deleted them, until when I deleted some messages, they made Windows media player come up, asking me if it should play the message. I clicked 'no.' The next couple I got I forwarded to Juno's spam control, because I thought they were just another sneaky way to get us to look at their ads. I didn't realize they had viruses in them. Juno replied back that the attachments contained the W32.SoBigF virus.

Yesterday I received an "email account exprired" notice from "Norton Antivirus" called "noreply" in the subject bar. The attachment with that message contained the W32.netsky virus! The message looked legitimate and contained a link supposedly to the company's web site.

The Alert: I think you should alert listeners/readers about these tricky way of getting you to look at the attachments containing viruses. I've never heard or seen warnings about these particular delivery methods.

The Question: I thought attachments couldn't do anything unless you opened them. How was the email able to make Windows Media Player come up? Users who have the player set to play automatically will probably get infected without opening the attachment. It worries me that the email was able to make something happen on my computer even though I did not open the attachment.

I am sorry this is so long, but it is taking my valuable time too. I feel it is worth it to save other users real problems.

Thank you. I love your email newsletter and read every one.

Sincerely,

Cindy Robertson [email protected]

Answer

This question was answered on May 22, 2004. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

You should patch Windows because NIS isn't full proof You should be viewing e-mail in plain text, because of security reasons (potential exploits that some hacker or virus writer will discover before MS and NIS) it sounds like you might also want to download Lavasoft Ad-Aware It's not related to Swen, but chances are if you are just using NIS and unpatched Windows, then you've got of spyware and adware on your computer.

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Author

Posted by michael of Katharine Gibbs School - New York on May 22, 2004