Today I received an intriguing email with a Microsoft Word attachment implying I had money coming to me if I filled in a form. Yeah, right. I was just about to hit delete but I was a bit surprised the sender was addressing me as Prof. Leonhardt. It’s hardly the first time someone’s got this wrong – and to be on the safe side I can see why people might start high and work backwards through Dr. and so on, as people who are about such matters are only offended if you start too low.
But why would a botnet add the title?
On closer inspection I recognised it was a royalty payment enquiry from a publishing company that had actually done a book for about five years ago. I didn’t expect it to sell (it wasn’t that kind of book), so hadn’t thought much about out.
But I still haven’t opened the attachment. The email headers suggest it came from the publisher, but they can be forged. And this could be a clever spear-phishing attempt – after all, if you bought the book, which was largely about email security, you’d have the name of the publisher and my name – and the email address used can be found using Google.
I don’t believe I have ever been spear-phished before, so I’m feeling a bit more important than I did yesterday.
Time to fire up the sandbox!