Beware of strange emails

By | February 23, 2011
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Hi. Read here:
Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7

Have you been getting emails from friends that have the subject “Hi” and nothing in the body but a link and the words, “Read here” or “click here”?

Take a look below. If you get an email the body of which has something like this:

Read here:

You can do yourself and your friend a big favor. First don’t click on the link in the email. There’s a 99.99% chance that if you do, you’ll be downloading a Trojan/botnet on your computer. If your antivirus is good and it is updated it should catch it before it installs, but why take chances? Do not click the link.

What you should do is this: Email your your friend and tell them what you suspect. Tell them you received an email from them with a suspicious link, and remind them update their antivirus and their antispyware – and then scan their computer. If they’re infected (and they very well may be if the mail they sent to you was sent by a botnet) you might want to suggest to them they change their antivirus to Avast or Microsoft Security Essentials. The more we use Microsoft Security Essentials the more we’re impressed with it. And it’s doing very well in tests conducted by independent labs too. In a recent test, it tested far better than Norton, which sent Norton into a tizzy. Norton was so upset they conducted their own tests to prove their $60 (plus $50 a year program) was better than Microsoft Security Essentials (free). This is sort of like what Microsoft did when Internet 8 came out and everyone was saying how slow it was compared to Firefox and Chrome. Microsoft conducted its own tests which proved that IE8 was faster. Data can be manipulated anyway you like. We’ll buy the independent lab tests over Symantec’s tests any day.

Anyway, we digress. You should also have them download and install Malwarebytes (Free edition) available from and scan their computer. You’ll be doing them a big favor – and you’ll be helping to stop the malicious spread of botnets.

If you get a message from a friend with a link in it, don’t assume because the “From” line says it’s from your friend that your friend actually sent it. There are many ways email addresses can be forged, and there are a lot of botnets being installed surreptitiously on unprotected computers. Once a botnet is installed, it turns into an email factory, sending out hundreds, even thousands of emails – without the knowledge of the computer’s owner.

So, if you receive a suspicious message from a friend with nothing in the body but a link and subject line like “Hi”, stop and think before you click. Alert the sender; it’s quite possible that he or she will have no idea that email was sent.

If we all do our part to help each other, we can help slow the spread of viruses, spyware, Trojans and other malicious files.

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