My Web Maestro

New Malware Trick (Form Spam)

Posted on by Nathan Lyle

There are always new tricks being tried to get you to reveal information or download malware to your computer. The most recent common one we’ve seen has tried to use fear of legal repercussions to get you to click a link (which very likely would install malware or ransomware on your computer.) It’s at this point that we stand on our soap box yet again to annoyingly remind you to never click a link in an email you weren’t expecting. The HTML within emails can easily be edited to make a link look valid, even when it’s not, and once you click it you’re at risk. The best way to remain secure is to 1) have a good antivirus and/or anti-malware application installed on your computer, and 2) learn good habits of behavior that will keep you safe. 

In the recent variation, an accusation is made (submitted through a form on your website) that you are using photos in violation of copyright. When you receive something like this, you can always double check your content on your own, or check with anyone responsible for adding content to your website. But never click a link or download anything from the accuser, never assume they are operating on good faith. (If your website is with us, you can also reach out to us for confirmation.)

Here are two examples we’ve seen:

Example 1

(Click the image to view, or read the text below)

This one included the subject, “You’re not allowed to use my images for [domen] without my permission! It’s unlawfully! This is a lawsuit against my rights! You must remove my images NOW!!!!!

Hi,

This is Melika and I am a qualified photographer.

I was puzzled, frankly speaking, when I came across my images at your website. If you use a copyrighted image without my approval, you should be aware that you could be sued by the copyrigh owner.

It’s illegal to use stolen images and it’s so filthy!

Take a look at this document with the links to my images you used at greatamericandisposal.com and my earlier publications to get evidence of my copyrights.

Download it now and check this out for yourself:

https://sites.google.com/site/***EDITED***/googledrive/share/downloads/storage?FID=6312837600670

If you don’t delete the images mentioned in the document above within the next several days, I’ll write a complaint on you to your hosting provider stating that my copyrights have been infringed and I am trying to protect my intellectual property.

And if it doesn’t work, you may be pretty damn sure I am going to report and sue you! And I will not bother myself to let you know of it in advance.

Example 2

(Click the image to view, or read the text below)

Hello,

This is Melisha and I am a professional photographer.

I was confused, to put it nicely, when I came across my images at your web-site. If you use a copyrighted image without my consent, you should know that you could be sued by the copyright holder.

It’s unlawful to use stolen images and it’s so disgusting!

Take a look at this document with the links to my images you used at opendoorveterinarycare.com and my earlier publications to obtain evidence of my copyrights.

Download it right now and check this out for yourself:

https://sites.google.com/site/***EDITED***/googledrive/share/downloads/storage?FID=2327200767255

If you don’t remove the images mentioned in the document above within the next several days, I’ll write a complaint on you to your hosting provider stating that my copyrights have been infringed and I am trying to protect my intellectual property.

And if it doesn’t work, you may be pretty damn sure I am going to report and sue you! And I will not bother myself to let you know of it in advance.

When in doubt, don’t panic. 🙂  If you ever have a question about your website from an email you’ve received or form message, you can forward it to us to help evaluate whether it’s legitimate. The protections in place on your website’s forms should prevent your getting a large number of these kinds of messages, but no protection is 100% effective so it’s likely some will slip through. Most will have some red flags you can see, if you learn to recognize them, though often they are constructed pretty effectively. 

Be safe!

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About Nathan Lyle

Nathan is a father of four, an amateur musician, and an aspiring photographer. He started programming in 4th grade on an Apple II+ and many years later spent much of his college years freelancing website design for college departments. Nathan is a veteran of the Browser Wars, and will gladly talk at length about the changes he has seen in Web technology if you accidentally ask him.

Visit Nathan's Website or View all posts by Nathan Lyle


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Posted in General News, Security, Spam Hall of Shame

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