• Plano, TX

'Drive-by' email infects readers immediately


For the past few years, drive-by downloads have been the bane of computer-security professionals. These malicious Trojans lurk inside seemingly innocuous Web pages and try to infect any browser that visits them. If a user doesn't have strong anti-virus software installed on his PC, he'll be immediately infected just by looking at the Web page.

Now this "instant-infection" threat has moved to an even more dangerous forum: email. A new class of drive-by email messages has been discovered that infect users who simply view a message, or possibly just glance at it in a preview window.

"The new generation of e-mail-borne malware consists of HTML e-mails which contain a JavaScript which automatically downloads malware when the e-mail is opened," reads a press release by the Berlin-based email security company Eleven.