You Won $1,230,310! Still Believe in Fairy Tales?

Every get one of those emails? Sure you have. In fact, you probably get a lot of emails just like this. Anyone with an email address is bound to be bombarded with this type of scam email.

Spam Lottery

(Click graphic to view larger)

Opening this type of email is definitely not recommended since, at a minimum, opening one lets the spammers/scammers know that your email address is “live”. Generally not a good idea, since this virtually guarantees you will receive a lot more spam.

We’ re all pretty curious, and spammers/scammers being experts at social engineering – “the act of manipulating people into performing actions or divulging confidential information, for the purpose of fraud, or computer system access”, (Wikipedia), rely on this to manipulate victims into opening this type of email.

While there may be some dispute as to whether “curiosity killed the cat”, there is no dispute as to the likely outcome of following the instructions contained in emails of this type because of curiosity.

For those who are swept away by an overriding curiosity  – go ahead and click and then follow the instructions. But before you do, make sure you have:

A current backup CD/DVD or other media containing your irreplaceable files – you’re probably going to need it.

Your original operating system install disk – you’ll need this too.

Your system and peripherals driver disks. Without these you’re going to spend hours on the Internet locating (if your lucky), drivers that were written specifically for your hardware and peripherals.

You can save yourself all this trouble, and heartache, just by one simple action, or more properly; by a single inaction. Don’t click!

Scam emails like this are designed, and crafted, to seek out financial information from you, or from your computer, that can be used to steal your money. As well, they can be designed to install various types of malware on your computer that can have drastic consequences for your system’s stability.

You may well be curious when it comes to emails like this, but don’t let your curiosity override your common sense. Security experts argue (none too successfully it seems), that a significant number of malware infections could be avoided if users stopped “just clicking haphazardly” or opening the types of files that are clearly dangerous.

You may be lucky, and you may be able to recover control of your computer if your anti-malware applications are up to date, and the malware signature recognize the intruder as malware. But I wouldn’t count on it. Often, anti-malware programs that rely on a definition database can be behind the curve in recognizing the newest threats.

It is beyond dispute that the Internet now fits the criteria of a world that is not just perceived to be, but is in fact, personally threatening to uninformed or casual Internet users. I could go on but I think the message here is clear. Think carefully before you click.

Minimum Security Precautions:

Don’t run programs of unknown origin

Disable hidden filename extensions

Keep all applications (including your operating system) patched

Turn off your computer or disconnect from the network when not in use

Disable Java, JavaScript, and ActiveX if possible

Disable scripting features in email programs

Make regular backups of critical data

Make a boot disk in case your computer is damaged or compromised

Turn off file and printer sharing on the computer

Install a personal firewall on the computer

Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software and ensure it is configured to automatically update when you are connected to the Internet

Ensure the anti-virus software scans all e-mail attachments

Be proactive when it comes to your computer’s security; make sure you have adequate software based protection to reduce the chances that your machine will become infected.

If you are unsure of you current security software, then checkout “Need Free Security Programs? – 10 Of The Best!” on this site.

4 Comments

Filed under Don't Get Hacked, Email, email scams, Freeware, Interconnectivity, internet scams, Malware Advisories, Online Safety, Phishing, System Security, trojans, Viruses, Windows Tips and Tools, worms

4 responses to “You Won $1,230,310! Still Believe in Fairy Tales?

  1. Another grad-slam home-run of an article, Mr. Mullins!

    Should be required reading (IMHO) before you can get your “surfer’s license”. It is absolutely astounding to me how many people are still unaware of the criminal “shadow economy”.

    • Bill Mullins

      Thanks for the support Paul. Gotta keep plugging though, until we get the message out.

      Bill

  2. Pingback: A Heads Up for Twitter Users « Tech–for Everyone

  3. Pingback: You Won $1,230,310! Still Believe in Fairy Tales? < It’s all about the trends