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Monday, January 6, 2014

Spotting Malware in an E-mail

I received a suspicious e-mail a few days ago from an unknown contact about sharing a photo with me. Here's what the picture looks like.


The message says "My private photo for you" and there's an attachment. Fortunately for people like me who use this particular e-mail client, we are told what the file is. For others, they simply see "JPG" and assume that it's a picture file and download it. What they may not have realized is that this is actually a .zip, not a .jpg.

.jpg files are for viewing photos while .zip files are zips that contain information, sometimes even executable files. These are what makes them so dangerous.

If I downloaded this file to my computer and opened it, it more than likely contained some sort of trojan virus that would invade my computer.

The lesson of the day is be careful of what you see and make sure that the file you are downloading, really is the file you think it is.

This is a trick often used by scammers in another pathetic attempt to gain control of your machine. As of now, there is no real way to mimic extensions of other files to make a .zip look exactly like a .jpg. .jpgs have no real way of causing harm to a computer; however, .zips do and are notorious for it.

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