If your email newsletter from Fox News seems more alarmist than usual, it's not just you — it's a scam designed to deliver malware.
The scam is relatively straightforward: An email purporting to be a Fox News bulletin winds its way into your inbox with frightening headlines about sectarian violence in Syria. However, clicking on the links will infect your computer with malware rather than bring you to the stories.
The headlines are unusually cataclysmic, even by Fox standards: "U.S. Military Action in Syria — is it WW3 start?" asks one, while another proclaims, "Iran to send 4,000 troops to aid President Assad forces in Syria against US military forces."
If the unrealistic headlines don't act as warning bells, the inconsistent capitalization, improper grammar and atrocious spelling should. "Obama speach about Syria, is it World War 3?" does not exactly promise journalistic integrity.
The email address also acts as a red flag: firstname.lastname@example.org is bogus; real Fox News newsletters come from email@example.com. [See also: 10 Things You Must Know About Malware Infections ]
Should an unsuspecting reader follow one of the links, he or she is in for bad news (although arguably not as bad as Syrian violence launching a third World War). The website at the other end does nothing except distribute malware.
The malware itself is fairly run-of-the-mill stuff. If contracted, it can draft your computer into a botnet, steal personal information or just fill your screen with incessant ads for fake deals. A standard antivirus or anti-malware program will get rid of it.
As email scams go, this one is definitively on the less clever end of the spectrum. That said, it does serve as an example on how to avoid similar scams: Beware of misspellings, bad grammar and suspicious email addresses, especially when an email claims to be from a legitimate news organization.
Violence in Syria is a real problem, but Fox News distributing malware is not. World War III is also not upon us — not yet, anyway.
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