I opened up my iPad email this morning to find a note from a business acquaintance I hadn’t spoken with in years. When I read the note, (see image above) my initial thought was, “Wow, they owe me money?” But then alarm bells went off. The wording definitely wasn’t something he’d have written. The attachment looked suspicious. I check his email address (not the name that’s displayed, as that’s easy to forge) and it indeed came from him. So, I called his office and sure enough, somehow someone had hacked his email.

When I opened Mac Mail on the office Mac, Sophos antivirus immediately flagged the attachment as containing Mal/Phish-A, a spyware virus. Mal/Phish-A attempts to steal personal information by pretending to be a legitimate website and because of this, it’s platform independent, meaning just because you’re on a Mac, you’re not totally immune. The latest versions of Mac OS X have a built in file quarantine system, but better to be safe than sorry and  not open a suspicious attachment.

Shortly after Sophos cleaned the file from my iMac, my old acquaintance blasted out an email alerting everyone in his address book to the problem. Hopefully nobody opened the attachment. So if someone you haven’t heard from in years sends you an email with an attachment, beware. And, keep your antivirus software updated.