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Don't get caught by the McDonalds scam

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Malware authors are always trying out new techniques to find ways of infecting our computers and they will use any means they can. One popular method is via an email message. Some emails contain links and they encourage you to click them by pretending they require you to update your banking, PayPal, Amazon or other online account information. Other emails contain an attachment and the message body encourages you to open the attachment by various means.

As people get used to the types of email scam that are commonly used, the malware authors move on to try new scams. They need something you haven't seen before and something that looks tempting. The latest method that the malware authors are trying is the McDonalds scam. If you receive an email that claims to come from McDonalds offering you a free meal, remember that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

This is a Windows virus/Trojan and the reason why it is an Apple Mac screen shot is so that I don't want to infect my Windows PC. Actually, this type of attack would work just as well on a Mac, but since 99.9% of malware is designed for Windows PCs, I reckoned there was only about a 0.1% chance it would infect my Mac. It is usually fairly safe to examine malware on a non-Windows system like a Mac or Linux PC, but don't get too complacent.


As you can see, there is a file attached to the email and the message claims that it is a voucher for a free meal at a McDonalds. It sounds tempting doesn't it? But does McDonalds realy send out vouchers for free meals to random people on the internet? I suspected not, which is why I used a Mac to examine it and not my Windows PC.

The email attachment was saved to disk and then unzipped. It was found to contain an executable file that claimed to be the voucher. Obviously I was to run the program to get the voucher. However, running this through a virus checker, the free ClamXav on the Mac, revealed that it was in fact a Trojan, which is a type of malware that infects the computer and then downloads more malware onto it.


Remember that any email that tells you to open an attachment is very suspect. No matter what it says or how tempting it might be, don't do it!