[this post is from Dennis Houseknecht, a Nerd in West Virginia]
At least most internet users are becoming more wary of phishing email messages. The attackers are countering by increasing the sophistication their attacks and by targeting them to the interests of specific individuals.
Here is an article about malware that is written specifically to steal Microsoft Office documents. Imagine the information hackers might tap into if ALL your business Word document and Excel spreadsheets were harvested. The primary delivery vehicle has been bogus email messages claiming to be from FedEx, but we are sure to see others. Companies who regularly receive FedEx shipments would be likely victims.
Here is another article describing how targeted attacks are aimed at gamers, government employees, and small businesses.
Opening links in emails can be very dangerous. You can never trust a link to take you to what it says. All modern browsers will reveal the actual \”target\” of the link of you hover over it with the mouse. This does not work for shortened URLs, though. You can see where those actually point by pasting them into the expander window on a site like Long URL. There are also browser plugins that will expand shortened URLs.