SPAM: “Adobe” Reader emails

I recently received an email from a friend: Good morning Al: How important would it be for me to download this? Do I really need it?

A non-clickable image of the “Adobe” email follows. See how many things you can find wrong with it! Below the picture, you’ll find my answer to this common question.

Bogus upgrade invitation (picture)

If this email were real, you wouldn't want to click any links it contained!

Good morning!

The short answer is, no. The email you received is SPAM, or worse :-( so hope you did not click that link! (If you did, run your anti-virus program!)

If you look carefully at the link in this email, it doesn’t say it will take you to adobe.com (the real site). It will take you to blah-blah-blah-adobe-blah-blah-blah-download.net.

You can hover your mouse over the link in the email (without clicking it) and it will confirm it isn’t going to take you to adobe.com.

How does this work? How can you tell?

The last part of the address just before the DOT in dot.com is usually who owns the address. Adobe.com is Adobe’s official Adobe site. When in doubt, Google it first to make sure a link is who it says it is. Summitlake.com is my personal web page. If you receive an email link inviting you to visit Alex’s page at http://www.summitlake.honeypot. crappy. junk.com, it ain’t me!

You email also didn’t say copyright Adobe 2010. It says Copy rights Adobe 2010 ? which is another clue it is totally bogus too. The people that send out these fake emails are pretty arrogant. If you notice something about an email that doesn’t look quite right, it probably isn’t. And, Adobe headquarters in Palo Alto doesn’t know or track what version of Reader you personally have installed.

Don’t ever use emails like these that advise you to upgrade more popular programs like Adobe Reader or Microsoft Office. Commercial programs perform their own update checks. Trash them and set your anti-spam to treat them as junk mail. DO NOT click the links in such emails.

I have seen a LOT of spam pretending to be from Adobe. What usually happens if that if you click the link to get the new software, you are brought somewhere else that’s a rip-off copy of an Adobe page, and if you click the links on that page, you may end up installing a virus on your PC instead. Or, no virus, but you start getting tons of junk mail advertising every day.

I don’t think Adobe ever sends email invitations to upgrade. By policy, most major software corporations do not, because spammers and virus hackers imitate them so often and successfully. It is usually spam and the link may not actually point to Adobe, but some other harmful link. That is one way people get viruses.

Adobe Reader (the application itself) will usually check for an upgrade when you use it, and suggest that you do an update when one is available.

No, it is not terribly important to upgrade Adobe Reader every time a minor update is available. If you are using Reader 2008, yeah, go to Adobe.com, find their free Reader update link on their web page, and upgrade that way. (There is a checkbox that says “also install McAfee anti-virus”. Uncheck that, as you either already have it, or are using another brand already.) Again, if you use Adobe Reader regularly, it will check for updates all by itself, and offer to perform the update if you click OK.

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