June 11, 2012

Annoying Malware Infecting Yahoo, AOL, & Microsoft Email Accounts

There's an annoying bit of Malware that's been going around for over a year now that affects Yahoo, AOL, and Microsoft email accounts. If you get a very short email from someone only a link and possibly a bit of text saying something like "Wow, you've got to see this".  When you get such a message - DON'T CLICK THE LINK! 

It is a nasty bit of Malware - apparently built into a bit of Javascript - that sends messages to everyone in your online address book to propagate itself by sending out the infection email to your contacts. It also affects folks on Service Providers that use Yahoo as their infrastructure: e.g. sbcglobal, att, etc.

I receive dozens of these emails (from different people) a week. Basically, I recommend that the infected parties:

  1. Change their email password
  2. Do a deep anti-virus/malware scan of the computer you were on when you clicked this link. If you don't have a good anti-virus scanner, I recommend the free version of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. It's available at: http://filehippo.com/download_malwarebytes_anti_malware/
  3. Clean out your browser cache, cookies, and history. The easiest way to do that on an ongoing basis is to use CCleaner on a regular basis. It's free and available at: http://filehippo.com/download_ccleaner/
  4. Don't click on any links like this in the future. Beware of any message that doesn't contain some personalization to convince you that it actually came from a real person and not a Malware robot. To be extra safe, I recommend that you install "Web of Trust". It's free and available at: http://www.mywot.com - It's no substitute though for "safe surfing" practices - avoid promiscuous link clicking and attachment opening!
  5. (Optional, but nice) Send an apology to the folks in your address book.
  6. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Switch to a safer email provider. I recommend Google's Gmail. AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft and their supported domains are highly insecure and are prone to break-ins. Gmail is a lot more secure, faster, safer, and still free. Easy to switch to and use, but has a lot more features. You can set a "Forward" in your old account's options so all your new mail will be forwarded - so you can take your time letting your contacts know about your new email address.
If you'd like more info, let me know :-)

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