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McDonald's 'Free Dinner Day' Malware Email

Outline
Email purporting to be from fast food giant McDonald's claims that the recipient can print out an attached invitation to receive a "Free Dinner Day" meal on June 26, 2011.



Brief Analysis
The email is not from McDonald's and the claim that the attachment contains an invitation for a free meal is untrue. In fact, the attachment contains malware.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.



Last updated: 23rd June 2011
First published: 22nd June 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
Good afternoon.

McDonalds invites you to The Free Dinner Day which will take place on 26 June, 2011, in every cafe of ours.

Free Day’s menu!
- Honey Mustard Snack Wrap (Grilled)
- World Famous Fries
- Premium Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken
- Vanilla Triple Thick Shake
- McCafe Mocha

Print the invitation card attached to the letter and show it at the cash desk of any of our restaurants.

Every manager will gladly take your card and issue you a tasty dish of Free Day.
And remember! Free Day is whole five free dishes!

Thank you for your credence.
We really appreciate it.




Detailed Analysis
McDonald's Meal

©iStockphoto.com/Ellen Moran

According to this email, which is currently hitting inboxes around the world, the recipient has been invited to a "Free Meal Day" courtesy of fast food giant McDonald's. The message claims that all one needs to do to get the free meal is print of an official invitation contained in an attached file and present it to any McDonald's store on 26 June, 2011. There are several variations of the emails, some of which refer to a "Free Breakfast Day" rather than a "Free Meal Day". Subject lines and listed menu items also vary.

The emails are certainly not from McDonald's and the offer of a free meal is entirely bogus. In fact, opening the attachment that comes with the emails can install malware on your computer. The attachment contains a .zip file that in turn harbours a malicious .exe file. Launching the .exe file installs a Trojan horse that connects to third party websites and downloads and installs further malware components.

If you receive one of these emails, do not open any attachments or follow any links that it may contain. Malware distributors regularly use similar tactics to trick people into infecting their computers. Users should always use caution when opening attachments or following links in unsolicited emails.

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References
How a free breakfast day at McDonalds can lead to malware danger
DHL Notification Malware Email
Invitation_Card_Malware
No such thing as a free meal - McDonald’s scam circulates online

Last updated: 23rd June 2011
First published: 22nd June 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer