Emails purporting to be from various well-known airlines claim that you can view the travel itinerary for a supposed flight booking you made by opening an attached .zip file.
The emails are not from real airlines and the attachments do not contain a travel itinerary. Instead, the attachments contain a malicious file that, if opened, can download and install Locky ransomware.
Subject: Travel ItineraryDear [Name derived from email address removed]
Thank you for flying with us! We attached the Travel Itinerary for Your booking number #9EEA4B3.See the paid amount and flight information.
According to emails that are currently hitting inboxes around the world, you can view a travel itinerary for an airline booking you made by opening an attached .zip file. The emails, which are signed by supposed staff of various high profile airlines, include a booking number and advise that you can see the amount you paid and your flight information in the attached file.
However, the emails are not from the listed airlines and the attachments do not contain any sort of travel itinerary.
Opening the attached .zip file reveals another file hidden inside. Clicking this file can download and install Locky ransomware on Windows computers. Once installed, Locky can encrypt all of the files on your computer and then demand that you pay a fee to online criminals to get the decryption key.
Details, such as the name of the airline, the name of the supposed booking agent, and the bogus booking number, can vary in different incarnations of these emails.
The criminals responsible for this malware campaign bank on the fact that at least a few people will be panicked into opening the attached file in the mistaken belief that they have been charged for flight tickets that they never purchased.
If you receive one of these emails, do not open any attachments or click any links that it contains.
Last updated: October 4, 2016
First published: October 4, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!