This email, which purports to be from Australian telecommunications company Telstra, supposedly contains your latest Telstra business bill in an attached file. The email includes the Telstra logo and other company graphics and is professionally presented.
However, the email is not from Telstra and the attachment does not contain a bill as you might expect. Instead, the attached .zip file hides a dangerous .exe file that, if opened, can install malware on your computer. The exact purpose of this malware may vary in different incarnations of the message. But, typically, such malware can collect sensitive information such as banking passwords from the infected computer and send it to cybercriminals. It may also download and install other types of malware and allow the criminals to take control of the infected computer.
As such malware campaigns go, this is a fairly sophisticated attempt. The email closely emulates a genuine Telstra email bill. If you are expecting your bill email, you might not notice at first glance that the account number and email address listed on the message do not belong to you, especially since the email uses a spoofed address to make it look like it was really sent by Telstra. The legitimate emails do include bills as attached files, but they are PDFs, not .zip files with .exe files inside. Genuine Telstra bills will include your full name as well as your normal account number.
Online criminals have repeatedly used fake bill emails to trick Telstra customers into installing malware or divulging personal information. Similar malware emails purporting to be from Telstra have been hitting inboxes for several years. Other versions do not carry malware but are instead phishing scams designed to trick you into sending your personal and financial information to online crooks via fake websites or fraudulent forms contained in email attachments.
If you receive your Telstra bills via email, always take the time to check that any bill emails your receive are really from Telstra before you open the attachment or click any links.
Last updated: February 16, 2016
First published: February 16, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen