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A message from Steve Lipner? At Microsoft? Don't be silly - it's a Hoax!

Attachment: file: KB351340.exe (33.4KB) - WHICH IS ALMOST CERTAINLY A VIRUS!

----- Original Message -----
Microsoft <customerservice@microsoft.com>
[harvested e-mail address]
Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2008 9:28 PM
Subject: Security Update for OS Microsoft Windows

Dear Microsoft Customer,

Please notice that Microsoft company has recently issued a Security Update for OS Microsoft Windows. The update applies to the following OS versions: Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows 2000, Microsoft Windows Millenium, Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Windows Vista.

Please notice, that present update applies to high-priority updates category. In order to help protect your computer against security threats and performance problems, we strongly recommend you to install this update.

Since public distribution of this Update through the official website http://www.microsoft.com would have result in efficient creation of a malicious software, we made a decision to issue an experimental private version of an update for all Microsoft Windows OS users.

As your computer is set to receive notifications when new updates are available, you have received this notice.

In order to start the update, please follow the step-by-step instruction:
1. Run the file, that you have received along with this message.
2. Carefully follow all the instructions you see on the screen.

If nothing changes after you have run the file, probably in the settings of your OS you have an indication to run all the updates at a background routine. In that case, at this point the upgrade of your OS will be finished.

We apologize for any inconvenience this back order may be causing you.

Thank you,

Steve Lipner
Director of Security Assurance
Microsoft Corp.

Version: PGP 7.1



No virus found in this incoming message.
Checked by AVG.
Version: 7.5.524 / Virus Database: 270.7.6/1711 - Release Date: 2008/10/06 17:37

Now look, Microsoft don't send out messages to you like this! Even if they did send out messages to customers, you could easily get around this kind of nonsense by the clever trick of using contact-specific email addresses. Also, don't you think Microsoft would know your name, and would not say "Dear Microsoft Customer"?

What's interesting about this message is that the antivirus software on the computer receiving the message has failed to spot that it's a virus. Oh yes, it IS a virus! Commonsense beats antivirus software on these things, and a message with a .exe in it saying "run this" is definitely up to no good! This is another reason to avoid having "folder options" set to "hide file extensions".

So, although antivirus software is a good idea and is recommended, it is not perfect, and you should not have to rely on it. Instead, having good commonsense antivirus measures is much better, and can spot viruses which the antivirus software fails to notice.

Moving away from Microsoft and towards Linux is also recommended. However, to be fair to Microsoft, it's not their fault that these messages arrive. Steve Lipner didn't send them, and you didn't opt-in to receive them! They are spam, sent by those who would wish to spread viruses.

Don't worry about the PGP Key. They are used by people both good and bad, and the inclusion of a PGP key in a message is typical of honest messages sent by paranoids, or anyone with a keen eye for security. PGP is a way of communicating such that your enemies can't spy on you even if they can "listen in" on the encrypted messages.

The message is a VIRUS, and if you have been fooled by it and have run the .exe attachment, then you'll need to get some antivirus software to clean your computer. Good luck!

This page is part of Zyra's website where you can see various hoaxes exposed at the Rogues Gallery as well as a great many more optimistic items. [response]