Thursday, August 8, 2013

XYZ - eXamine Your Zip files

We're seeing an increasing number of folks getting into trouble by opening very realistic scam emails.  They come in a variety of stories.

  • You missed a package from [UPS, FedEx, DHL, USPS, etc] click here for your [tracking, release signature form, shipping label].
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB) received a complaint about your business, open the attachment for details.  Sometimes similar goes around for Dun & Bradstreet (D&B).
  • There was a problem with your recent tax payment (from the IRS).  Open attachment for report.
I'm sure there are a lot more varieties, but they all have 2 things in common.  1) They aren't really from UPS, FedEx, the BBB, or the IRS.  2) They all have .zip attachments.

The problem isn't the file type.  Folks have been "zipping" files and folders for years to compress them and make them smaller.  It was extremely important in the days of 56K modem dial-up connections and 160MB hard drives (yes, I said Megabyte).  It's convenient if you want to send someone multiple folders/files too to make a single attachment to an email.  The problem is that the bad folks are creating self-extracting zip files with executable files inside that will run and infect your computer as soon as you open the zip archive.

Everyone is getting some form of spam like this.  Just because you do a lot of Ebay business or run a business, don't be fooled by the relevant subject of the email.  Watch your attachment types.  Depending on your email client, it will show you the full filename (e.g.  If you aren't already expecting a zip file from the recipient, don't open it.  When you see these messages, flag them as spam.  If you've downloaded one of these already, but haven't opened it, delete it from your downloads folders. 

Make sure to tell your family members and co-workers to XYZ! eXamine Your Zip files!