For the last couple of weeks, I have been inundated with email spam from CNN. It’s called “The Daily Top 10″ which comprises some of the top stories featured at CNN. The ironic thing about this is that I did not subscribe to this. In fact, I don’t even watch or read CNN – I get my main news from Fox News.
Here is the screenshot of what it looks like:
If you can see at the very bottom, there is an unsubscribe link. In most cases when you get email spam, you do not want to use this function as it only tells the spammer that your email address is real. In this case, I figure it is CNN so I utilize it. It even takes you to the CNN site and displays a message that your email address has been unsubscribed from their list.
However, the emails keep coming. And in my case, seeing that I run multiple web sits and have multiple email addresses, it comes a lot, that is to many of my email addresses.
Now normally I’d plead (or demand) here for CNN to stop email spamming me. However, here is the ironic part of this story. It is not CNN sending these daily top 10 lists. If you mouse over the links to the news stories (DON’T CLICK ON THEM), you will see that the stories do not link to the CNN site. In fact, they do not even link to stories at all but rather the URL back82.org/news/ (at least in one scenario). McAfee reports this as a spoof site or even sites which apparently attempt to download malware on your computer.
Yahoo Tech reports the following:
If you do click one of the links you’ll get an innocuous-looking CNN-branded video player and an error message with a notice “Video ActiveX Object Error. Your browser cannot play this video file.” The message then prompts you to install an ActiveX Object… which, of course, is actually a Trojan horse. You can read more about the specific threat here. (Essentially it opens a door to allow for even more malware to be installed.)
So, first and foremost, do not click on any of the stories unless you want a nasty virus. Trying to unsubscribe is not going to help either. Best thing you can do is to add this to your email spam filter rules or kill the email addresses you are receiving these at.
I got to say that this is one of the best spoofs I have seen in awhile. Unfortunately many people most likely click on the story links and if they do not have good virus protection, are soon sorry that they did.