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kapri
09-13-2009, 09:50 AM
This is the first thread I've started, so please bear with me if I'm not doing this right.

I teach at a university and periodically get emails from people whose names look familiar as former students. (I've had thousands of students since I've started, so obviously cannot remember all of them.) Sometimes these emails contains requests for me to join a site they are participating in or have created or asking me a question related to my course, so I open them even though I am not exactly sure who they are from.

This morning I got an email from someone who may or may not be a former student. Included in the "to" are several other instructors at my school. Anyway, the entire content of the email is a link to something called rapidshare, and the link ends in install.exe. I don't plan to click on it, but I am curious about what this is. I've googled rapidshare, and it doesn't seem bad--or is it? Any information you can give would be appreciated.

Patty O'Furniture
09-13-2009, 10:08 AM
Anyway, the entire content of the email is a link to something called rapidshare, and the link ends in install.exe.

It's probably a download manager that auto-installs the client interface of whatever social networking site you are being invited to join.

From Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RapidShare):

Rapidshare offers two computer programs to simplify file managing:

Rapidshare Uploader

This software allows queuing of uploads. However, it cannot resume interrupted uploads. It is available for Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP and runs without installation.

Rapidshare Manager

This software has many more features than the Uploader, especially queuing and resuming the upload as well as the downloads (only for the Premium Member - free users cannot resume). This facility is available, however, for Windows XP and Windows Vista only.

Patty O'Furniture
09-13-2009, 10:15 AM
OK upon further reading, it's a file sharing/storage service. So I would say that you are being spammed with invitations to join up and pay for premium upload/download service. The fact that you are getting these emails is off-putting and suggests that if you join, some nefarious mechanism may exist that auto-invites all of your email contacts the moment you sign up.

kapri
09-13-2009, 10:18 AM
Thank you! I figured it was something bad. There is no actual message in the body of the email except for the link to rapidshare, and the subject line is "hello."

Ximenean
09-13-2009, 10:23 AM
RapidShare is not a social networking site, it's a popular file-sharing site. The email could be someone maliciously trying to get you to install something that he's uploaded to RapidShare.

Of course you're right not to run an .exe from a questionable source. The generic nature of this email makes it very suspicious. And don't take From addresses on emails as proof of anything. They're trivially easy to fake (no verification was built into the email system when it was designed), or the sender's PC could have been hijacked. So unless you have advanced notice from somebody you trust that yes, they are sending you such-and-such an attachment, don't touch them with a bargepole.

jackelope
09-13-2009, 10:31 AM
A large portion of rapidshare's traffic is people illegally sharing music/movie files; the shadiness factor is pretty high.

kapri
09-13-2009, 10:33 AM
Thanks, Ximenean. I know it isn't a social networking site, and that it is a file sharing site. I guess I should have been clearer in my OP. I know better than to click on a link without knowing what it is and have already deleted the email. I just wanted to know more about rapidshare and why someone would email this to me. This is in my work email account, which I can access from home, and usually questionable emails are screened out and sent all at once at the same time every day with the word "quarantined" in the subject line. This one wasn't, so I thought there was a small chance it was legit.

Thanks again.

Alessan
09-13-2009, 10:46 AM
In my experience, Rapidshare itself is reliable and virus-free. It cannnot, however, vouch for whatever people choose to upload to it.

astro
09-13-2009, 10:50 AM
Rapidshare is one of the largest and most popular non-torrent based file sharing services on the web. You have various subscription (1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year) terms you can sign up for approx $5-$10 per month. Rapidshare servers host file sets for subscribers from a few megabytes to several gigabytes in size. Users can upload or download. There are also limited speed and size free/trial options available. Rapidshare will delete material it is informed violates copyrights.

If an uploading user does not renew their subscription the files sets they uploaded will usually be deleted within 90 - 180 days or so.

If you have large file sets (megs to gigs) you wish to share or distribute rapidshare is a very convenient way to make them available. Downloaders do not have to have rapidshare accounts, but they can only download one large file at a time. Subscribers can upload and download multiple files at once.If you have a standard broadband connection you can pull down a gig of data in 20 minutes or so.

Rapidshare and it's competitors will give data credits or subscription credits to users who bring or invite new subscribers onboard so this may be the source of the invites.

Rapidshare subscribers also have access to the rapidshare library (http://rapidlibrary.com/index.php?q=rapid+library) which is pretty awesome.

Markxxx
09-13-2009, 01:38 PM
In my experience, Rapidshare itself is reliable and virus-free. It cannnot, however, vouch for whatever people choose to upload to it.

You are not wrong, but part of the reason for this is the users of Rapidshare quickly report viruses and malware and Rapidshare deletes them ASAP.

So if you're unlucky you can be the first to DL the virus. :)

There are schemes at Rapidshare, like if you register and upload files you get points. The more people that DL files you UL the more points you get. You can change these points for either more time on your account or you can make a new account

People used to change their points for a new account (30 days) on Rapidshare and then sell that RS account thus undercutting RS.

Rapidshare then changed the scheme so it's much harder to do this.

So a lot of these email can be legit, they just want you to DL anything so they will get points to extend their own accounts