A massive spam campaign posing as a communication from Westpac is carrying malware, according to email security provider MailGuard.
By midday today more than 126,000 copies of the email had already been blocked, a MailGuard spokesperson said.
According to the company spokesperson, "at 11:15am, only two of the 44 main anti-virus engines were detecting the [malware carried by the email]."
So if a message headed "WestPac Secure Email Notification" from "firstname.lastname@example.org" appears in your inbox, it might be one to delete without opening the message or its attachment, even if your security software does not detect a problem.
It helps if you have your mail program set so it does not display the content of a message as soon as you click on it - rather, set it so a double-click is needed to open. In Outlook, select the View tab, click the Reading Pane button and select Off.
This is also a reminder to check that your security software is automatically updating itself correctly - for example, in Norton Internet Security's home screen the LiveUpdate button shows how long it's been since an update occurred.
Fraudsters often use the names of trusted organisations such as banks, courier companies and government departments to encourage recipients to open emails containing malware. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) if another name that's popular with spammers, for example.
As MailGuard's press release about the incident today states, "Your bank will never send you an email asking you to log in as it would pose a huge security risk."