Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

New Drive-By Spam Infects Those Who Open Email -- No Attachment Needed

Getting infected just got a whole lot easier, researchers say

Attackers have developed a new way to infect your PC through email -- without forcing you to click on an attachment.

According to researchers at eleven, a German security firm, the new drive-by spam automatically downloads malware when an email is opened in the email client. The user doesn't have to click on a link or open an attachment -- just opening the email is enough.

"The new generation of email-borne malware consists of HTML e-mails which contain a JavaScript which automatically downloads malware when the email is opened," eleven says in a news release."This is similar to so-called drive-by downloads, which infect a PC by opening an infected website in the browser."

The current wave of drive-by spam contains the subject "Banking security update" and has a sender address with the domain fdic.com. If the email client allows HTML emails to be displayed, the HTML code is immediately activated.

The user only sees the note "Loading…Please wait," eleven says. In the meantime, the attempt is made to scan the PC and download malware.

Aside from updating their anti-spam and anti-malware tools, users can fight the new attack by deactivating the display of HTML e-mails in their email client, eleven advises. They can choose the option of displaying emails in pure-text format only.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Arkadia
50%
50%
Arkadia,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/2/2012 | 3:28:13 PM
re: New Drive-By Spam Infects Those Who Open Email -- No Attachment Needed
There is very little information provided regarding how this allegedly works.- Last time I checked, scripting is turned off almost universally in email clients.- When was the last time you viewed an interactive email?- My understanding is that emails can have infected attachments, or-malformed embedded media that takes advantage of coding vulnerabilities in media handling subsystems.- I find it completely ridiculous that in 2012, we can have amazingly interactive Web sites and mobile apps, but the recommendation for email is to just display plain-text, and party like its 1984.
joes12
50%
50%
joes12,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/30/2012 | 4:36:34 AM
re: New Drive-By Spam Infects Those Who Open Email -- No Attachment Needed
Users can also have- a well protected antivirus software through which they will be able to fight against attackers,then deactivating the display of HTML would also work.-
Kelli99
50%
50%
Kelli99,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/29/2012 | 11:09:00 PM
re: New Drive-By Spam Infects Those Who Open Email -- No Attachment Needed
You should really talk a little about how some email clients, like TrulyMail, automatically strip out all scripts from email messages before they get shown. There are industry solutions to the kinds of problems you're addressing.
7 Truths About BEC Scams
Ericka Chickowski, Contributing Writer,  6/13/2019
DNS Firewalls Could Prevent Billions in Losses to Cybercrime
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  6/13/2019
Cognitive Bias Can Hamper Security Decisions
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  6/10/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-7472
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
The "Count per Day" plugin before 3.2.6 for WordPress allows XSS via the wp-admin/?page=cpd_metaboxes daytoshow parameter.
CVE-2019-12839
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
In OrangeHRM 4.3.1 and before, there is an input validation error within admin/listMailConfiguration (txtSendmailPath parameter) that allows authenticated attackers to achieve arbitrary command execution.
CVE-2019-12840
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
In Webmin through 1.910, any user authorized to the "Package Updates" module can execute arbitrary commands with root privileges via the data parameter to update.cgi.
CVE-2019-12835
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
formats/xml.cpp in Leanify 0.4.3 allows for a controlled out-of-bounds write in xml_memory_writer::write via characters that require escaping.
CVE-2019-12830
PUBLISHED: 2019-06-15
In MyBB before 1.8.21, an attacker can exploit a parsing flaw in the Private Message / Post renderer that leads to [video] BBCode persistent XSS to take over any forum account, aka a nested video MyCode issue.