“I forward this file to you for review. Please open and view it.”
As a ploy to get a hapless EMC recruiter to open up a booby-trapped Excel spreadsheet, it may not be the most sophisticated piece of work. But researchers at F-Secure believe that it was enough to break into one of the most respected computer security companies on the planet, and a first step in a complex attack that ultimately threatened the security of major U.S. defense contractors including Lockheed Martin, L-3 and Northrop Grumman.
The email was sent on March 3 and uploaded to VirusTotal, a free service used to scan suspicious messages, on March 19, two days after RSA went public with the news that it had been hacked in one of the worst security breaches ever.