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Consumers should beware valentine viruses

Virus writers love to strike on Valentine's Day

Computer users should ensure that their virus and security software is up-to-date as Valentines Day approaches, warn security experts.

Virus writers typically love Valentine ’s Day and use it as a way to fool people into opening attachments such as electronic or e-cards. ‘One of the hackers’ favourite tricks is to disguise their attack as an e-card from an anonymous admirer, and as Valentine’s Day approaches we can expect the fraudsters to redouble their efforts,’ said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at security firm, Sophos.’

The Storm Worm, for example, struck million’s of Internet users’ systems in February 2008 with the lure of receiving a Valentine’s Day gift. The e-mail message contained a web link directing users to a site where they could supposedly download a Valentine’s card. Instead of receiving a card from a loved one, their system was infected with the Storm Worm and their personal information was stolen.

‘Valentine’s Day in particular is an ideal opportunity for malware writers to trick unsuspecting users into opening attachments or clicking malicious links on e-mail messages with romantic subject lines,’ says BitDefender’s head of antispam research, Vlad Valceanu.

BitDefender says consumers should be on their guard for emails with subject lines advertising Valentine’s gifts, such as sexual enhancement pills and cheap replicas for jewellery, designer bags and watches. Examples include e-mails with the subject line “I Love Being In Love With You.” The e-mail contains a malicious link that will infect a user’s computer with the Waledac botnet when clicked.

To avoid Valentine’s Viruses

  • Ensure your security software is up-to-date
  • Do not open e-mails from unknown or distrusted sources.
  • Do not open the attachments of messages with suspicious or unexpected subject lines.
  • Delete any chain e-mails or unwanted messages. Do not forward them or reply to their senders.
  • Update your operating system and applications as often as possible.

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