I received an email stating that if I recived an email with "CNN Breaking news - Mitt Romney Almost President" in the subject line, I was not to open it but was to delete it immediately. The claim was that if I opened this phishing email (a forward type email), my computer would immediately be taken over by a virus that would open my compouter to hackers and I could possibly lose all my personal and financial data.
Sounds hokey to me. However, one can't be too cautious these days. Is this true?
Origins: In October 2012, many Internet users were spammed with an e-mail bearing a subject line of "CNN Breaking News — Mitt Romney Almost President" and offering what looked to be a summary of CNN news stories headed by one stating that "More than 60 percent of votes will be in favor of Mitt Romney":
The news that the Republican candidate had seemingly opened such a wide lead in the presidential contest was sure to entice many recipients into clicking on the provided link to read the details of the teased story. However, that link led not to the CNN site, but to a page redirecting users to some malicious code which can load a Java-based Trojan and relay information about which exploits exist on a victim's computer back to a BlackHole server, as noted by Sophos:
The machine I was surfing from was not vulnerable to any of the exploits currently deployed in Blackhole, so it resorted to social engineering to get me to infect myself.
I was presented with a page that looks identical to the real Adobe Flash Player download page, except it was hosted on a virtual private server in Maryland, USA.
Without the need for a click it proceeded to download:
David Mikkelson founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
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