Information Technology Security Office
"You've received an e-Card!"
Good news? Happy Birthday? Get-Well-Soon? Maybe, but e-greeting cards,
e-gift cards, and online holiday
messages are increasingly being used by scammers and cyber criminals to spread viruses and other vicious
malware. Many e-Cards are rigged with links that take unsuspecting
recipients to bogus websites that can infest
systems or compromise user
identities and personal information. If you believe you've been the
victim of an e-Card
scam, report it to your computer consultant,
computer help desk, or your Internet Service Provider (ISP) immediately.
Once the scam has been verified, file a report with the Federal Trade
Commission on their website at
E-card Do's and Don'ts.
- Don't click on links in emails announcing an e-Card or on e-Card
attachments. If it's a legitimate e-Card, the
sender may be disappointed
that you didn't get it, but weigh that against the risk of your computer
if you do click.
- Don't reply to emails or pop-up messages offering quick fixes for
viruses. Legitimate computer security
companies don't sell their
products by spam email or by using pop-ups.
- Don't cut and paste the link from the message into your Internet
browser. Phishers can make links look like
they go to one place, but that actually send you to a different site.
- Do delete random emails that ask you to confirm or divulge personal
- Do use antivirus and anti-spyware software and update them regularly.
Some scam emails contain software
that can harm your computer or track your activities on the Internet without your knowledge. Look for
software that recognizes current viruses as well as older
ones, that can effectively reverse the damage if your
computer does get
infected, and that updates itself automatically.
- Do use a two-way software firewall. It helps make your computer less
visible on the Internet and blocks
communications from unauthorized
sources. It's especially important to run a firewall if you have a
connection. Operating systems (like Windows or Mac OSX) or browsers (like Internet Explorer or Firefox) also
offer free software "patches" to close holes in the system that cyber criminals could exploit. Do apply the patches.