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Internet criminals issue email apparently from the UK's National Health Service

Editorial Staff

Spoofing email addresses (that is making it look like an e-mail comes from somewhere other than its actual sender) is a remarkably easy trick and it's heavily relied on by spammers. However, this particular spam goes further, aping the tactics used by those who send e-mails that appear to come from banks. Be warned....

The subject of the message is "View PDF in Browser and reply." The purported sender is maria.silva4 at nhs.net which may or may not be an actual mailbox.

The content says "..Read PDF..


This message may contain confidential information. If you are not the intended recipient please inform the
sender that you have received the message in error before deleting it.
Please do not disclose, copy or distribute information in this e-mail or take any action in relation to its contents. To do so is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. Thank you for your co-operation.

NHSmail is the secure email and directory service available for all NHS staff in England and Scotland. NHSmail is approved for exchanging patient data and other sensitive information with NHSmail and other accredited email services.

For more information and to find out how you can switch, https://portal.nhs.net/help/jo... "

It all looks correct. And the attachment, Lets-talk.pdf, doesn't look dodgy at all. But even without opening it (and we haven't) it's clear: PDFs can include links. While it is possible to set up Adobe Acrobat so that links in PDF cannot be opened (see https://smallbusiness.chron.co...) that may not work for the plethora of alternatives to that program. Far more likely is that IT departments do not set that up when installing it. Users who self-install are highly unlikely to do so.

The fact is that the mail does not originate from the NHS and is therefore, no matter what its content, a fraud. The "reply" address is sgt.ivass@gmail.com

Sadly, it is likely that some people receiving this mail will be pleased to hear from the NHS and those who are caring for vulnerable people should warn them to be very cautious if they receive e-mail from someone at the NHS who they do not already have in their address book. They should not reply to such spam as that only confirms that the criminal has reached a potential target.