Feeds

Florist kicks up a stink about false phish alarm

Bloomin' MessageLabs

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

A florist is complaining that MessageLabs wrongly identified emails it was sending as infected with a computer virus.

The November edition of the monthly newsletter email sent out by Arena Flowers was wrongly identified as a phishing email. That in itself would be bad enough, but MessageLabs compounded the problem by attaching a explanation to customers that implied the florists were distributing a computer virus, specifically identified as a PayPal phishing attempt.

The MessageLabs Email Security System discovered a possible virus or unauthorised code (such as a Trojan) in an email sent to you.

Possible MalWare 'Exploit/Phishing-paypal-1054' found in '7782603_2X_PM3_EMQ_MH__message.htm'. Heuristics score: 202

Will Wynne, managing director of Arena Flowers, related the tale of woe in a blog posting here.

"It was a complete, 100 per cent misdiagnosis by MessageLabs, as they subsequently confirmed. We learnt that the reason that our email got hammered is that we put the word 'PayPal' into the subject line yet we are not PayPal. Blimey. Sophisticated stuff.

"We had PayPal in our subject line to let our customers know that they could win £10k cash if they paid for any order with PayPal during PayPal's very generous 10th birthday promotion," Wynne added.

A sales rep from MessageLabs was one of those who subscribed to the newsletter. He sent an email to Arena asking to be taken off the distribution list that suggested Arena might benefit from its services.

Wynne claimed sales dropped 50 per cent in the week after the incident. The email newsletter goes out to 40,000 Arena Flowers customers every month.

Nobody from MessageLabs was available to discuss the story at the time of going to press. But in a statement from the email filtering firm downplayed the impact of the snafu.

"Our antivirus team identified the email as a possible phishing email because it included a hyperlink with PayPal in its name that did not link back to the PayPal site. Once MessageLabs was alerted to the error, we resolved the issue." ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.