Would you like a side of virus with your Big Mac?

Posted on 23 Jun 2011 by Alan Burns

Today I received the following e-mail message:

Subject: Don’t miss The Free Five-Course Breakfast Day
From: “Your McDonalds”


McDonalds invites you to The Free Supper Day which will take place on 23 June, 2011, in every cafe of ours.

Free Day’s menu!
– Honey Mustard Snack Wrap (Crispy)
– Chicken McNuggets
– Premium Bacon Ranch Salad with Crispy Chicken
– Cinnamon Melts
– McCafe Wild Berry Smoothie

Print the invitation card attached to the letter and show it at the cash desk of any of our restaurants.

Every manager will gladly take your card and issue you a tasty dish of Free Day.
And remember! Free Day is whole five free dishes!

Thank you for your credence.
We really appreciate it.

The e-mail includes an attachment: Invitation_Card_90206.zip

Now, I did not fall for this. My B.S. meter is very good, and I can always spot scams even when others are certain they’re legit.

Just look at the language in the message. There are grammatical errors and generally awkward language, frequent signs of Asian or Russian spam. The name of the event changes, from “Free Five-Course Breakfast Day” to “Free Day”. McDonald’s would be consistent with their promotion name. “McDonalds” is spelled without the apostrophe, which McDonald’s would never do.

The attachment contains a virus, a typical nefarious payload of such messages.

In spite of what to me are obvious signs of a scam, this will fool many recipients. I have no doubt that, if this is sent to the same number of people, this could be as big as the Anna Kournikova worm. Too many computer users are uncritical and gullible. And, a free meal will sound good to them. I hope the virus dessert is equally tasty.

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