Description: Spam / Malware attack
Circulating since: July 2011
Status: File attachment contains a virus
Email text contributed by Pam W., July 5, 2011:
From: Police agency
Subject: UNIFORM TRAFFIC TICKET
Attachment: Ticket.zip - 12k
New York State - Department of Motor Vehicles
UNIFORM TRAFFIC TICKET
NEW YORK STATE POLICE
Local Police Code
THE PERSON DESCRIBED ABOVE IS CHARGED AS FOLLOWS
Time Date of Offense IN VIOLATION OF
7:25 AM 07/02/2011 NYS V AND T LAW
Description of Violation
SPEED OVER 55 ZONE
TO PLEAD, PRINT OUT THE ENCLOSED TICKET AND SEND IT TO TOWN COURT, CHATAM HALL., PO BOX 117
Analysis: Versions of the above message were spammed across the U.S. by person(s) unknown on July 5, 2011 (and again on Aug. 17, 2011). Despite appearances, the messages did not originate from the New York State Police, which issued an alert on July 5 warning recipients not to open the attached zip file, which is believed to contain a computer virus. Because of the potential for a malware attack, the agency also requests that recipients not forward copies of the message to police or anyone else.
In addition, the NY State Police alert recommends the following general security measures:
- Use antivirus software, firewalls, and other security measures to protect your personal information.
- Only open emails from familiar sources and only navigate to trusted sites.
- Change your passwords every 90 days and do not allow your computer’s programs to save them.
- Back–up important files to external storage devices and be vigilant when downloading from the Internet.
- Install parental control software and monitor your child’s Internet use to keep kids safe online.
- Establish family guidelines for appropriate computer use.
Uniform Traffic Ticket Malware Attack Widely Spammed Out
Sophos.com, 17 August 2011
Sources and further reading:
Hoax Email Alert
New York State Police, 6 July 2011
Hoax Email Purports to Be a Traffic Ticket
Buffalo News, 7 July 2011
NY Troopers: Beware Email Pretending to Be Ticket
Wall Street Journal, 7 July 2011
Last updated 08/17/11