Like clockwork, spammers and cyber crooks ramp up the volume of spam emails aimed at unsuspecting users just prior to this day culturally set aside as a “celebration of love”.
Last year at this time, we saw abnormally high rates of this type of spam, but this year according to MessageLabs, a Symantec company, the volume of Valentine’s Day-related spam has increased by 50 percent over last year. Current estimates place cupid style spam at nine per cent of this weeks spam activity.
The hook, as it always is in this type of socially engineered email scam, is based on exploiting our emotions. The fact is, we are all pretty curious creatures and let’s face it, who doesn’t like surprises. I think it’s safe to say, we all find it difficult, if not irresistible, to peek at love notes received via email.
The unfortunate truth is, these spam emails often contain links that deliver advertisements, or worse redirect the victim to an unsafe site where malware can be installed on the victim’s computer.
A friend, who is an astute and aware computer user (I though), fell for one of these carefully crafted teasing emails earlier this week. On opening the email, he was taken to a site which had pictures of hearts and puppies, and was then asked to choose which one was for him.
Fortunately, the common sense that I have been drilling into him, for ever it seems, kicked in, and he backed out of this site. If he had clicked on this site, he would have begun the process of infecting his machine with a Trojan which can connect to remote command and control Web sites.
Unfortunately, being smart is often NOT enough to protect yourself. Experienced users are on guard year round for these, and other types of scam/spam email.
You know what to do, right?
Don’t open emails that come from untrusted sources.
Don’t run files that you receive via email without making sure of their origin.
Don’t click links in emails. If they come from a known source, type them on the browser’s address bar. If they come from an untrusted source, simply ignore them, as they could take you to a web site designed to download malware onto your computer.
Keep your computer protected. Install a security solution and keep it up-to-date.
Need security solutions? Checkout “The 35 Best Free Applications – Tried, Tested and Reliable!”, on this site.
For additional timely advice on the scourge of spam, checkout “Make $6,513 a Day Doing This” from the pen of fellow blogger, TechPaul.
To help you keep ahead of cyber criminals, visit Scambusters.org, where you can get all the latest information on Internet Scams, Identity Theft, Internet Fraud, and more.