Don’t touch that download! Court date for illegal software a cyber attack

January 10, 2014
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly 

Santa Paula Times 

The email certainly will get your attention noting it’s from “Illegal Software” with “Pretrial notice” and an ID number on the subject line.

Don’t fall for it and certainly don’t touch that download as the email, reported to be hitting more and more online mailboxes since it was first reported in December 2013, is not only fake, but the documents you are urged to download and study regarding your upcoming court appearance contain devious malware.

And once downloaded the malware-AKA malicious software-will invade your computer, attach itself to your files and rename itself so even an expert would have trouble finding and removing it.

Some versions of the email carry the Trojan Horse virus, which like all the others now being circulated by the fraudulent email will allow access to your computer including sensitive personal information that could lead to identity theft, using your credit cards and draining your bank accounts or even using your computer to commit cyber-crimes.

One version of the scam reads: 

“Hereby we inform that you are obliged to come as a defendant to The Court of Louisiana in February 29, 2014 at 09:30 a.m. for the hearing of your case of illegal software use.

If necessary you have a right to obtain a lawyer for your protection.

You are kindly asked to have an identity document with you.

Personal appearance is compulsory.

Please find the plaint note with more detailed case information attached to this letter and study it thoroughly.

Court clerk,

Dorothy Mason”

Most people would automatically realize such an email is a scam based on several factors, most notably that such notices would never be emailed but rather served by a sheriff or sent via registered mail.

As always the language of the email is off, including the use of “plaint” when one would assume should be “complaint.” But perhaps the biggest red flag on this particular email is that February 29, the date of the court appearance, marks a Leap Year, which does not occur in 2014. 

Some of the emails have been impersonating large law firms including the international practice of Perkins Coie.

That led Perkins Coie to release a statement January 6 noting, “There has been an email spoof attack that is impersonating the domain name of several large law firms, including Perkins Coie.

This spoof attack involves an email falsely purporting to be from Perkins Coie or another law firm and describing a fictitious court appearance. Please be aware that it did not originate from Perkins Coie. In addition, please be aware that the email may contain a link to a computer virus. You should not open the email, any attachments, nor respond to it in any way.

We want to emphasize that this spoofing attack is not the result of any compromise of the security systems at Perkins Coie.  If you have any questions, please contact”

Start the New Year off right and make not opening any attachments from sources you don’t know and trust, no matter how urgent it seems, a top resolution you always keep. 

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