You may have been the recipient of an email from a friend or colleague warning you of an impending virus attack that will wipe out your PC. Most of these are hoaxes, however there is another threat that you must be aware of with these kinds of email warning messages.
Today airborne viruses that infect your PC through emails are slowly becoming less of a threat, this is great news and shows that the anti virus solutions are winning the war, however the originators of these attacks still need to gain access to the information they need to attack you. Techniques like social engineering attacks and fake websites are on the increase. So how could they use these hoaxes to attack you?
Consider one person receives an email from someone saying “WARNING NEW VIRUS…” with instructions to forward this on to your friends and family and warn them too, so you do. Then each person you send it to sends it to all their friends and so on and on. These emails are OK, there is no viruses attached and they go without fault. However let’s look at the first email sent, it came from WHO??? This could have come from the originator (hacker, social engineering attacker) and because you are forwarding it on to other people you are publicly displaying the email addresses of all those you are sending it to creating an email list of all those in your address book. If this list finds it way back to the originator they now have a volunteered list of ALL those email addresses of yours and your friends and their friends, etc, etc have emailed.
If you must send these warnings always add the recipients email address in the Bcc (Blind Carbon Copy) and send it to yourself, that way nobody learns the people you have sent it to and you don’t unwittingly reveal the names and email addresses of those in your address book.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!