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Fake LinkedIn SPAM Emails Hide Trojan Horse

“Watch Out for SPAM LinkedIn Emails”

We’ve said it again and again, but to emphasise the point: never click-through a link sent to you in an unsolicited email. Now it’s LinkedIn that the spammers have been impersonating, with an email that could lead you to a very nasty trojan infection.

The email uses one of the oldest techniques in the book to trick its victims: pretending to be an invitation from the service. In fact, it’s slightly more sophisticated than that: it pretends to be a summary of your invitations.

It also pretends you have unread messages at the service, encouraging you to click the link or risk missing out on some important job-related correspondence.

And rather cheekily, even the opt-out “Don’t want to here any more updates?” link points to the same malware-serving server. Personally, I find that very bad manners.

Every link in the email takes a user to a website hosting the BlackHole exploit, which will then try to install the well-known credential-stealing Cridex Trojan on your computer.

Realistically though, you probably, a) are too smart to click an unsolicited email link and b) have adequate virus protection to stop the Cridex Trojan from doing any damage.

The real worry is your friends and family. If they’re not aware of the scams – and don’t have decent virus scanning software – their computer could be a hotbed for viral activity.

And if you need to use their computer, you can be sure that your details will be collected alongside theirs.

So what do you think, are you going to pass on this information – or this article – to a friend? If so, here’s some quick tips to prevent exploitative emails:

1. Never log-in to a site that you’ve reached through an e-mail – it could be a sophisticated spoof.

2. Never download attachments from people you don’t know or aren’t expecting a message from.

3. Try to find out where a link is going before clicking it. Do this by hovering your mouse over it to see the destination. If it’s not where it seems (like the LinkedIn email), avoid it.

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5 Responses to Fake LinkedIn SPAM Emails Hide Trojan Horse

  1. Susan says:

    This is what I received… Network Updates, 4/26/2012.
    We ask you to confirm your email address before sending invitations or requesting contacts at LinkedIn. You can have several email addresses, but one will need to be confirmed at all times to use the system.
    You will be asked to log into your account to confirm this email address. Be sure to log in with your current primary email address.
    Click here to confirm your email address.
    If you have more than one email address, you can choose one to be your primary email address. This is the address you will log in with, and the address to which we will deliver all email messages regarding invitations and requests, and other system mail.

    Thank you for using LinkedIn!

    The LinkedIn Team

  2. Joel says:

    Thanks for the article – unfortunately – I often get linked in messages that are REAL like this and today I clicked on one that was fake – like you describe. I have avira but nothing has popped up yet – is there anything to do now that I stupidly clicked on the link?


  3. lin says:

    If you click on one of these links, you will want to change your email password and run a full system scan with your antivirus program. If they have your password they can steal any information you have in your emails and even forward your future emails directly to them.

  4. Plinker says:

    My best suggestion is to run numerous antivirus programs on there highest level of detection if you suspect your computer has been infected as even good apps miss certain bugs.

    When I work on a computer my first action is to search Google and certain excellent technical sites for similar infections and the solutions used to cure the problems, its always plural or more than one problem!

    I might go in and chase around for hours otherwise when the problem has already been addressed by someone else, beyond this I always try to save the owners data if possible.

    People should back up data but in reality they usually don’t and this is worse for them than the physical loss of the hardware.

    Safe (S) Safe Computing! Better than repairing the damage if thats even possible..

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