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Google Romance Malware Email

Email purporting to be from Google Romance urges recipients to follow a link in order to logon to Google Romance to read messages.

Brief Analysis
The email is not from Google Romance. Following the logon link opens a bogus website that attempts to redirect the user's browser to other malicious websites that may contain further malware. In any case, "Google Romance" it is not a real dating service. It was simply a humorous April Fool's joke launched by the company back in 2006.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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Last updated: 3rd December 2010
First published: 3rd December 2010
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer

Google Romance Notification

[Google Romance Logo Removed]

To view these mails please log into your google romance account: [link to malware website removed]

Your login: 1291251199
Your password: LSA75HNP6SL

Google Romance. Manager [Name removed]

This notification was generated automatically and you are receiving it since you've registered at Google Romance

Google Romance mail delivery system!!!

Auto-generated e-mail, please, do not reply!!!

Detailed Analysis
This email, which claims to be from "Google Romance", tells the recipient to click a link in the message, ostensibly in order to logon to the service and view other messages. The message, which arrives complete with the Google Romance logo, rather helpfully includes the user's supposed logon username and password. It claims to be an auto generated message from the Google Romance mail delivery system.

However, the email is certainly not from Google Romance. Following the link launches a trojan that attempts to redirect the user's web browser to other malicious websites that may in turn try to download further malware components.

Like many similar malware emails, the message attempts to fool the user into following the link out of interest or curiosity as well as by masquerading as a legitimate message from what appears to be a genuine online entity. Unlike others of its kind, however, this rather quirky malware campaign uses a well known April Fool's joke as its bait rather than a real online service. Google Romance is not, nor was it ever, an actual, working dating service. The whole thing was just a joke, consisting of a superficially genuine Google website, launched by Google back in April 2006. There was never an option to actually register for the "dating service". Of course, a viewing of the Google Romance website quickly reveals that the "service" is not meant to be taken seriously:
Google Romance is a place where you can post all types of romantic information and, using our Soulmate Search™, get back search results that could, in theory, include the love of your life. Then we'll send you both on a Contextual DateTM, which we'll pay for while delivering to you relevant ads that we and our advertising partners think will help produce the dating results you're looking for.
And, even if you didn't quite realize that Google Romance was a joke straight away, following other links on the page - such as the "Post Your Profile" option - rapidly sets the record straight once and for all. In fact Google has been responsible for a number of clever April Fool's jokes and other pranks.

The choice of Google Romance as the bait for this malware campaign seems rather curious. Perhaps it just goes to show that even morally bankrupt scumbag scammers may still have a sense of humour.

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Google Romance
Google Romance Profile
Google's hoaxes

Last updated: 3rd December 2010
First published: 3rd December 2010
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer