Home Archive “Question About Your Photo at flickr” Email Leads to Trojan

“Question About Your Photo at flickr” Email Leads to Trojan

by Brett M. Christensen

Email claims that the sender is interested in finding out more about a photo posted on photo-sharing site flickr.


Subject: question about your photo

I’ve accidently found your photo at a flickr and i’m very interested in it. Can you tell me what place i can see in the background of it?

— wbr, [random name added]

Note: The original arrives in HTML and the words “your photo” are a clickable link.

Detailed Analysis:
This unsolicited email message claims to be from a person interested in finding out more about a photograph posted on the online photo-sharing service, flickr. The message claims that the sender would like to know what place is depicted in the photograph’s background.

A hyperlink in the message ostensibly points to the photo being discussed. However, clicking the link will open a malicious website that can use browser vulnerabilities to install an information-stealing trojan on the user’s computer. The link may seemingly generate a “Page not found” error in the user’s browser. However, the threat may have already been downloaded while this fake 404 error is loading.

According to an AUSCERT Alert about this malware, it can capture online banking information when users enter data into web forms as well as interfere with firewall and anti-virus software.

Like many other such threats, the message attempts to make recipients curious enough to click on the included link without due caution. Users should always be very cautious about clicking links in emails, especially if the message is in HTML. HTML allows scammers to easily disguise the genuine destination of a link.

Users should also ensure that their operating system and browser always has the latest security updates available. And of course, reliable and up-to-date anti-virus and firewall protection is essential.

Last updated: 3rd November 2006
First published: 3rd November 2006
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

AUSCERT: Flickr site spoofed by trojan email
Flickr Phishing Scam
Flickr targetted in new-style social phish/trojan attack

Importance Notice

After 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 You

I 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 Date

Hoax-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!

Brett Christensen,