Alerts E-Threats

Random Germans Threatened with Lawsuits, Infected by Malware

German citizens have been threatened these days with costly fines, law suits and jail on grounds of Copyright infringement via bogus e-mails that look as if sent by law firm Urmann (U+C). Malware opens door to potential malicious invasions.

The official-looking e-letters inform people they have illegally streamlined a copyrighted pornographic video for which they owe a fine of over 3,000 euros. The message further seeks to catch readers’ attention by mentioning a three-year imprisonment.

The lawyers pretend to have obtained irrefutable proof from the recipient’s internet service provider.  They say the ISP had a legal obligation to disclose the IP of the person who allegedly viewed and shared the incriminating video – in some cases on porn site Red Tube.

Recipients are asked to delete the copyrighted material and access the attachment to view further evidence, account information and the contact details of the law firm sending the e-letter. And in this attachment lies the trick of this whole charade. The attachment hides an archived backdoor virus (identified by Bitdefender as Gen:Variant.Kazy) that, once launched on a system, reaches remote locations to fetch updates and additional malware.

Following this incident, the Law firm issued a warning on its website to inform worried recipients of the ongoing scam: “Fake warnings on behalf of U+C have been sent by email. This email does not come from the law firm. Warnings on behalf of our clients are shipped exclusively by mail.”

Often when users receive this kind of threat, they panic and don’t ask for help because they fear of what police might find on their systems. This fear keeps the malicious industry alive and wealthy.

Users should never click links or open attachments in e-mails that reach their inboxes out of the blue. An institution such as the police or a law firm will deliver official messages via snail mail or in person.

This article is based on the spam samples provided courtesy of Adrian LUCA, Bitdefender Spam Researcher and the technical details offered by Doina COSOVAN, Bitdefender Virus Analyst.

All product and company names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and are the property of, and may be trademarks of, their respective owners.

About the author


A blend of teacher and technical journalist with a pinch of e-threat analysis, Loredana Botezatu writes mostly about malware and spam. She believes that most errors happen between the keyboard and the chair. Loredana has been writing about the IT world and e-security for well over five years and has made a personal goal out of educating computer users about the ins and outs of the cybercrime ecosystem.