Watch out for malicious traffic ticket e-mails. They may contain a nasty little virus.
A client called me today saying he couldn’t launch any of his Windows applications. All application icons had a red circle with a slash through it. When he tried to open one, he’d get a warning message along the lines of the following:
“Your computer is infected! Possible harmful infection was dected on your PC. The system will now download and insall the most efficient spyware removal program to prevent private data loss and your identity theft. Click here to protect your PC from the biggest spyware threats.”
Everything had gone kablooey after clicking an email link regarding traffic tickets he thought was from the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. Unfortunately, it was just another in a long line of malicious emails sent to the unsuspecting masquerading as legitimate.
For those interested, this was a standard user logged into a Windows 7 Professional machine with the latest updates of Symantec’s Norton Antivirus for SMBs. So, even though the more recent versions of Norton Antivirus frequently wins Editors Choice and top marks for virus and malware protection, and Windows 7 is supposedly the most secure Windows OS yet, no computer is safe from attack. To be secure, we have to pay attention to what we’re doing on the internet and develop good identity and computer safety habits.
Luckily, I was able to easily clean the infection with one of my malware go-tos–the free version of Malwarebytes anti-malware. I recommend it for added protection to all my friends, family and clients with Windows computers.
So if you get an official looking email regarding traffic tickets…don’t open it!