Email Virus/Scam Threats

Every day, thousands of people are fooled by emails from criminals trying to steal their identities or infect and take over their computers. Use the information below from the SANS Institute to avoid being one of their victims.

For related information on phishing, see the Anti-Phishing Working Group Web Page.

Part 1. Subject Lines You May See In Harmful Emails

I. Emails from people trying to infect your system and steal your friends' email addresses for spam

I.1 Pictures of Osama Bin Laden hanging or Arnold Schwarzenegger's suicide note

I.2. Email from your system administrator or other familiar sender that says your email could not be delivered, or some similar statement.

I.3. Email with subject "Against!" or "Revenge"

I.4. Email with subject Re_ and body with animals or foto or other subjects

II. Emails from people trying to steal your identity (and your money)

II.1. Update Your Billing Information (from eBay)
II.2. Your account at eBay has been suspended
II.3. Your account at Wells Fargo has been suspended
II.4. Notification of US Bank Internet Banking
II.5. Attn: Citibank Update

III. Emails from people trying to fool you into hurting yourself or your friends and coworkers

III.1 Subject: "jdbg" Virus: how to detect and remove.

Part 2. Details About Each of These Kinds of Attacks

I. Emails from people trying to infect your system and steal your friends' names for spam

I.1. Name: Hackarmy

The bait: An email or news article claiming to offer you copies of pictures of Osama Bin Laden being hanged.A second form comes claiming to have a suicide note from Arnold Shwarzenegger.

How it infects your system: You click on a link that downloads a zip file. You execute the file thinking you will see the pictures.

What it does to you: Gives attackers remote control of your computer so they can use it in attacks on other people, or harvest email names for spam.

Find more information at: Backdoor.Hacarmy.D

I.2. Name: Mydoom-O

The bait: An email from your mail or system administrator or other familiar sender with any one of the following subjects: (1) say helo to my litl friend, (2) click me baby, (3) one more time, (4) hello, (5) error, (6) status, (7) test, (8) report, delivery failed, (9) Message could not be delivered, (10) Mail System Error - Returned Mail,(11) Delivery reports about your email,(12) Returned mail: see transcript for details, (13) Returned mail: Data format error. Each has an attachment.

How it infects your system: you download and open the attachment.

What it does to you: steals all email addresses from you to be sold to spammers, spreads to other sites from your machine. It also uses your system to send requests to search engines like Google to look for more email addresses.

Find more detailed information at : W32.Mydoom.M@mm.

I.3. Name: Atak-C

The bait: An email that arrives with the subject "Attack!" or "Revenge" and a zipped attachment

How it infects your system: you download and open the attachment.

What it does to you: steals all email addresses from you to be sold to spammers.

Find more detailed information: W32/Atak-C:


I.4. Name: Bagle

The bait: An email that arrives subject Re_ and with an attachment.

How it infects your system: you download and open the attachment.

What it does to you: disables antivirus and other important software, mass mails itself to others, steals email addresses from throughout your files, gives attacker remote control of your computer to use to attack other systems.

Find more detailed information: Win32.Bagle.AE

II. Emails from people trying to steal your identity and money

II.1 Update Your Billing Information (from eBay)

The bait: An email coming from eBay saying the company has "detected a slight error in your billing information" and saying that you must fix it within 48 hours to continue to buy or sell on eBay.

What it tries to make you do: click on a link and tell them your eBay and PayPal username and password, and your credit/debit card information

View example at Anti-Phishing Working Group:
eBay - "Update Your Billing Informations"


II.2 Your account at eBay has been suspended

The bait: An email coming from eBay saying your account has been suspended and "We had to block your eBay account"

What it tries to make you do: click on a link and tell them your eBay and paypal username and password, and your credit/debit card information

View example at Anti-Phishing Working Group:
eBay - "Your account at ebay has been suspended"


II.3 Your account at Wells Fargo has been suspended

The bait: An email coming from eBay saying your account has been suspended and "Your account has been compromised by outside parties."

What it tries to make you do: click on a link and tell them your username, password, and credit card information

View example at Anti-Phishing Working Group:
Wells fargo - 'Your account at Wells Fargo has been suspended"


II.4. Notification of US Bank Internet Banking

The bait: An email coming from US Bank saying, "as a preventative measure, we have temporarily limited access to some features"

What it tries to make you do: click on a link and tell them username, password, credit card data or debit card data.

View example at Anti-Phishing Working Group: US Bank - 'Notification of US Bank Internet Banking'


II.5. Attn: Citibank Update

The bait: "Click here" link in an email that seems to come from Citibank.

What it tries to make you do: click on a link and tell them personal information and credit card or debit card data.

View example at Anti-Phishing Working Group: Citibank - 'Attn: Citibank Update!'


II.6Confirm AOL Billing Info

The bait: An email coming from AOL saying your billing information is out of date and asking you to "spend several minutes and update your billing records"

What it tries to make you do: click on a link and tell them personal information and credit card or debit card data.

View example at Anti-Phishing Working Group: "AOL - 'Confirm AOL billing info'

III. Emails from people trying to fool you into hurting yourself, your friends and/or coworkers

III. 1. jdbg Hoax

The bait: An email telling you about a virus and how to remove it.

Example: "Subject: "jdbg" Virus: how to detect and remove." May also talk about finding a teddy bear on the machine - because the file has a bear as a symbol.

What it is trying to make you do: remove a file that is not harmful

Find more information at Symantec Security Response: jdbgmgr.exe file hoax


Thanks to CipherTrust for helping to providing some of the data on which this information was based.

Copyright 2004. The SANS Institute. Information security officers have permission to redistribute this material to employees of their organizations. Anyone else wanting to redistribute it must get prior written approval by telling us the groups to whom you would redistribute it and requesting approval. Email info@sans.org with subject line: "Permission to redistribute security awareness newsletter."