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Don't Respond to an
E-Card Sent From "friendlygreetings.com"-Truth!
Summary of the eRumor A warning is circulating
on the Internet about a "virus-like" program that says a
friend has sent you an e-card, but if you respond to it, all the
addresses in your Outlook address book will be sent to the greeting
The warning is true. What
appears to be an invitation to read an e-card actually forwards your
Outlook addresses to a Spammer who will be sending advertisements to
your friends about pornography.
The email arrives with a cartoon-like graphic that says "You
have received an e-card. Click here to open." It
says it's from friendlygreetings.com, friendgreetings.com, or laugh-mail.com.
In smaller print you are
told that an e-card viewer plug-in may be required to view some
cards. When you click on the link to view your card, you are
asked to run an installer. You are also asked to read and
approve some fine-print but since most of us don't take the time to
read that stuff, you don't realize that that you have just approved a user agreement that authorizes all of the addresses in your
Microsoft Outlook address book to be sent to the originator of the
message. According to Bob Sullivan of MSNBC, this is a scheme
to collect email addresses for a Spammer and one who sends porn
Spam. CNN says this particular site, which has since been
taken down, was operated by a Canadian company called Cytron
It's not technically a virus since it doesn't "infect"
your computer or damage it and you have given permission for the
email addresses to be collected. It is misleading and sleazy
and doesn't disclose that the email addresses will be used for Spam.
Most legitimate e-card companies do not ask you to download a
file. They merely refer you to a safe website where your
greeting card can be viewed online.
Virus experts are warning that there are other companies now trying
this tactic. They suggest avoiding installing programs from
emails and that if there is fine-print, read it. Also,
Lawrence Baldwin, president of Internet security firm
myNetWatchman.com told CNN that he suggests disabling the
Internet Explorer function that allows browsers to instantly
download ActiveX Controls. Doing so will cause a warning box to
appear anytime such files are encountered, which could get annoying
because Macromedia Flash, used to create Web animations, uses
Although at least one virus protection program will alert you to the
danger of the friendlygreetings.com email, not all of the virus
protection companies are classifying it as a virus and are not
Last updated 10/29/02
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