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"Question About Your Photo at flickr" Email Leads to Trojan

Summary:
Email claims that the sender is interested in finding out more about a photo posted on photo-sharing site flickr (Full commentary below).



Status:
False - The link in the message points to a trojan

Example:(Submitted, November 2006)
Subject: question about your photo

I've accidently found your photo at a flickr and i'm very interested in it. Can you tell me what place i can see in the background of it?

--- wbr, [random name added]

Note: The original arrives in HTML and the words "your photo" are a clickable link.



Commentary:
This unsolicited email message claims to be from a person interested in finding out more about a photograph posted on the online photo-sharing service, flickr. The message claims that the sender would like to know what place is depicted in the photograph's background.

A hyperlink in the message ostensibly points to the photo being discussed. However, clicking the link will open a malicious website that can use browser vulnerabilities to install an information-stealing trojan on the user's computer. The link may seemingly generate a "Page not found" error in the user's browser. However, the threat may have already been downloaded while this fake 404 error is loading.

According to an AUSCERT Alert about this malware, it can capture online banking information when users enter data into web forms as well as interfere with firewall and anti-virus software.

Like many other such threats, the message attempts to make recipients curious enough to click on the included link without due caution. Users should always be very cautious about clicking links in emails, especially if the message is in HTML. HTML allows scammers to easily disguise the genuine destination of a link.

Users should also ensure that their operating system and browser always has the latest security updates available. And of course, reliable and up-to-date anti-virus and firewall protection is essential.

References:
AUSCERT: Flickr site spoofed by trojan email
Flickr Phishing Scam
Flickr targetted in new-style social phish/trojan attack


Last updated: 3rd November 2006
First published: 3rd November 2006

Write-up by Brett M.Christensen