Friday, November 21, 2008

Hallmark E-card Virus


Since about August 15th, a new virus began circulation through the Internet using sender names of people you think you 'know'. Problem is...the e-card that you think is from a loved one sent through Hallmark or a similar card company will most likely not only be a fake...but will also harbor the latest in email viruses and an especially bad one at that.

Don't open it! Delete it, unopened and unread.
Unlike most similar warnings that end up being scams, urban myths etc. this particular one is by all signs...real. Snopes.com labels it 'true' and Hallmark.com gives advice on how to recognize viral cards, report them, and of course...just plain delete them...UNOPENED!
Boy, that grinch sure knows how to reach out and touch someone during the holidays! Oh wait, is that the phone company or Hallmark ;) It might just be time to make a phone call this holiday season or make your own card and snail mail it. Email scams are a tad bit too plentiful any time of the year, but this time somehow seems a tad bit meaner.

Hallmark.com says:
"A fraudulent e-mail flooding the Internet claims to have a link to an E-Card from a family member, friend or neighbor and uses major greeting card company names such as Hallmark. Clicking on the link downloads a virus onto your computer that compromises personal data.What you can do:

Report suspicious e-mail to your e-mail service provider so they can take action.File a complaint at http://www.ic3.gov/ or Forward the suspicious e-mails to abuse@hallmark.com. Don't expect a response back, they are being flood with complaints already.

Delete the fake e-card, unopened and unread !!!!!!!

If you are unsure if you've received a legitimate Hallmark E-Card, don't click on a link in the e-mail. Instead use our E-Card pickup.

If you do click on the link in the bogus e-mail, you will launch a variant of the Zapchast Trojan virus. Zapchast installs an Internet Relay (IRC) chat client and causes the infected computer to connect to an IRC channel. Attackers then use that connection to remotely command your machine.

What Hallmark is doing:
Contacting the Internet providers identified as the source of the spam requesting that they shut down the impostors.

Working with Microsoft to include the virus code in their phishing filter to protect consumers who use their web browser and e-mail client software.
Working with anti-virus software corporations to get the virus code added to virus definition updates.

True Hallmark E-Cards are not downloaded and they are not .exe files.
In addition, Hallmark.com will never require an E-Card recipient to enter a user name or password nor any other personal information to retrieve an E-Card.

E-mail Safety Tips:
Do not open e-mails from unknown senders.

Don't open an e-mail you know to be spam. A code embedded in spam advertises that you opened the e-mail and confirms your address is valid, which in turn can generate more spam.

If you receive an attachment that you are not expecting, don't open it, even if it's from someone you know. First read the e-mail, and make sure the attachment is most likely legitimate. If you're still not sure, call or e-mail the sender to confirm, but do not reply to the original e-mail.

Some fraudulent e-mails that appear to be from financial companies (PayPal, banks, credit card companies, etc.) direct the reader to click on a link to verify or confirm account details. Never click these links. Instead, call the company if you are concerned about your account.

E-Card Fraud Alert :

http://www.hallmark.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/article%7C10001%7C10051%7C/HallmarkSite/LegalInformation/FAQ_ECARD_FRAUD_ALERT

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Michele Bilyeu blogs "With Heart and Hands" as she journeys between Douglas, Alaska and Salem, Oregon.