E-Gads! Don't Open that E-Card!

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It's not a virus and it's not a worm, but it is annoying and can cause all sorts of problems for you and your PC. It comes to you very innocently as a wholesome-looking e-greeting card. But click on the link and you've just opened Pandora's box of porn.

There are several versions of the e-card porn spam scam out there right now, all inflicting varying degrees of damage, ranging from placing porn images on your desktop, to bombarding you with X-rated popup ads, to stealing the names in your address book and sending the same "greeting" . . . from you.

In most cases, the e-card is actually a Trojan Horse (see Tricks Pornographers Play). In order to read the card, you may be asked to download the viewer, which turns out to be a pernicious adware or spyware program now installed on your PC-with your unwitting permission. Some anti-virus programs may warn their users before the viewer's installation, but that's as far as they go. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security just because you have an anti-virus program installed.

Bottom line? Be cautious. With a little bit of caution you can protect yourself from a whole lot of hassle. The old rules remain the same:

  • Never open an email from someone you don't know, and
  • Never click on a link to a site you don't recognize.

But the real kicker to this scam is-when all is said and done, you never even get a real e-card!