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Beware of scam emails

Priority Level: 
Moderate
16 April 2018

What’s happened?

There have been reports of a recent increase in email scams containing malware, which can take control of your computer or steal your information.

The emails contain a link which, if clicked on, downloads and installs a Remote Access Trojan (RAT) on your device. Hackers use these RATs as an invisible backdoor to access the data on your computer. They can steal your confidential information, hold your computer to ransom or install other programs without your knowledge.

Does it affect me?

Thousands of these emails have been sent out to individuals and businesses across Australia. They are coming from a variety of sources, which means many are not being detected by internet service providers’ email filters or customer anti-malware programs.

The cyber criminals are using a common tactic to try to make the email look legitimate by slightly altering a real domain name. For example some emails are being sent from admin [at] harborfrelght.com. Note that the there is an ‘l’ in the domain rather than a lower case ‘i’.

How do I stay safe?

  • Don’t open emails if you don’t know the sender.
  • Be suspicious of emails that aren’t addressed directly to you, or don’t use your correct name.
  • Don’t reply to, or forward chain letters you receive by email.
  • Think carefully before clicking on any links or opening any attachments in emails.
  • If you are unsure, contact the person or business separately to check if they are likely to have sent the message.
  • Make sure you have up-to-date anti-virus software installed on any device used to access the internet
  • Businesses: provide security awareness training for your staff and teach them how to protect your business from suspicious and malicious messages.

More information

Read more about protecting yourself when using email and how to keep your business safe while using emails.

Businesses: check out Stay Smart Online’s Security Awareness Implementation Guide for guidance.