Did you get an E- Valentine Card from friend? Don't open it until you check with that friend first!

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FBI Warning: Valentine 'e-Cards' Could Spread Computer Virus
First Coast News

...The FBI is warning to ignore any e-cards you might get -- even if it appears to be from a friend or loved one.

The FBI believes computer hackers will be sending the 'Storm Worm' Virus over the internet disguised as Valentine 'e-cards.'

Robert Olson, a security specialist and head of Future Computer Systems told First Coast News that the 'Storm Worm' Virus is actually malware.

"A virus is usually sent to destroy (a computer), compared to malware and spyware that's sent to get data back and transmit data," said Olson.

Without you knowing it, these so-called 'Bot-Net' programs can send all of your personal information from your computer out to thieves and cyber criminals anywhere in the world.

The FBI warning says simply clicking on an infected or bogus Valentine 'e-card' can open the door to your computer.

"It can be used for identity theft. Second, it can be used for SPAM," said Olson.

"That's why files like this are so dangerous!"

Olson recommends running spyware and malware detection programs which are available free on the internet at least once or preferably twice a week.

Not running such cleaning programs is a recipe for disaster.

"A month. Two months. Three months without running spyware/malware and your whole computer will be destroyed. It's going to get slower and slower and slower!"

Companies and computer experts like those at Future Computer Systems can often undo the damage, for a price.

"We're able to log in remotely for you, fix it, and also we're able to come on site and fix it for you there," said Olson.

But Olson and the FBI share the same opinion about a much simpler solution: Prevention.

"Don't open up emails from people you don't know!"

The FBI has issued a press release about this computer warning. Here is the content of that message found at:


02/11/08 - With the Valentine's Day holiday approaching, be on the lookout for spam e-mails spreading the Storm Worm malicious software (malware). The e-mail directs the recipient to click on a link to retrieve the electronic greeting card (e-card). Once the user clicks on the link, malware is downloaded to the Internet-connected device and causes it to become infected and part of the Storm Worm botnet. A botnet is a network of compromised machines under the control of a single user. Botnets are typically set up to facilitate criminal activity such as spam e-mail, identity theft, denial of service attacks, and spreading malware to other machines on the Internet.

The Storm Worm virus has capitalized on various holidays in the last year by sending millions of e-mails advertising an e-card link within the text of the spam e-mail. Valentine's Day has been identified as the next target.

Be wary of any e-mail received from an unknown sender. Do not open any unsolicited e-mail and do not click on any links provided.

If you have received this, or a similar e-mail, please file a complaint at www.ic3.gov.

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