Spammers hit email users with new html attack

Beware html files in the inbox

Spammers have suddenly cranked up the use of malicious html file attachments in recent days, according to security company Barracuda Networks.

Using a number of search engine optimisation-driven subject lines, the latest campaign tries to get recipients to click on 'harmless' html attachments which launches an obfuscated Javascript attack that sends users to a variety of websites peddling everything from bogus CODECS to pharmacy.

One in particular, a standard advert for fake antivirus software, installs a back door - even if the browser is closed so by the time the html file has been clicked it is already too late.

The only defences against this sort of attack are either for it to be filtered at the gateway so it never reaches the user, or for the user to disable Javascript in their browser. Security software on the PC might catch the exploit.

Spam built around html is nothing new, but does seem to have become a hot technique in the last year or so with some spammers. A popular variant is the bogus 'Delivery Status Notification Failure', a sneaky way to get the attention of a user without arousing suspicion.

More recently still, the spammers started embedding the Javascript inside the html file (rather than as a simple file attachment), to spread the horrible Zeus banking Trojan.

"So yes, a seemingly innocent HTML email attachment can do plenty of damage, and while quite stealthy, definitely not harmless," concludes Barracuda Labs' researcher, Dave Michmerhuizen.

Since attachment attacks became a favourite tactic, spammers have tried almost every common format in existence, sometimes moving to obscure ones in an attempt to get around spam filters.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Personal Techsecurity

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John E Dunn

Techworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?