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Persona (non) grata

Persona (non) grata

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On the benefits of careful reading

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To achieve their goals, scammers trick victims into doing what they (the scammers) want. They try to engage the recipients of their mailings in conversation, get them to focus on what they’re reading, and simultaneously quell any suspicions they may have. It is essential for scammers that their targets continue reading the message rather than move it into their Trash folder.

ANYONE can fall for scammers' tricks whether it be a secondary school student or a grey-haired university professor—that's why scams are so dangerous.

Phishing scams often intimidate users. For example, attackers can dispatch messages purportedly from tax or judicial authorities. Surely many of our readers have received emails of this kind.

Today, some governmental agencies and companies have been receiving emails that are ostensibly from the Investigative Committee of Russia. The messages are infected with malware.

The committee notified the general public that it never did and never would send queries of this sort to state agencies, companies and individuals via email. Users who receive the messages are recommended to delete them to avoid a malware infection.

This trick is well known, but it still works despite warnings from the respective organisations and system administrator-issued guidelines. The common features shared by all these messages: they do not address anyone specifically, contain no contact information in their signatures, and have a password-protected attachment and an intimidating message text.

In a statement published on Wednesday, March 22, the Investigative Committee indicated that messages of this sort were sent to some governmental and commercial organisations on that very same day.

Meanwhile, a suspicious message, supposedly from this very mailing, was received in our office on March 21. The email, with no proper salutation or signature (ostensibly sent by an unnamed investigator from the third high-profile crime division with the Investigative Committee of Russia), notified us about an ongoing investigation under article 172 of Russia's criminal Code regarding illegal banking activities. The sender requested us to provide the committee with a number of documents found on the list no later than March 23, 2017. The list was presumably attached to the message as a ZIP archive.

Scammers can also cow people into doing what they want by posing as their boss. Experience shows that if employees receive emails purportedly from their superiors, they pay no attention to the message's design and rush to execute the instructions.

According to Sberbank's spokesperson, as many as 80% of the bank's employees opened a scam message that was supposedly sent by its CEO and Chairman of the Board Herman Gref.

#security #phishing

Dr.Web recommends

Even though the Dr.Web Anti-spam filters out a large portion of phishing scams, you must never relax completely. Pay attention to what you're reading at all times, and always keep your “inner anti-spam" toggled on because no one can tell what intruders will invent tomorrow.

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