Tag Archives: messages

Fake URL Shortening Services –Spammers Latest Weapon

imageAccording to Symantec’s May 2011 MessageLabs Intelligence Report, released several days ago, spammers are now employing their own fake URL shortening services to redirect users to the spammer’s Web site. It’s hardly surprising that this new technique has directly contributed to rising spam rates.

MessageLabs Intelligence reports that “shortened links created on these fake URL-shortening sites are not included directly in spam messages. Instead, the spam emails contain shortened URLs created on legitimate URL-shortening sites. These shortened URLs lead to a shortened-URL on the spammer’s fake URL-shortening Web site, which in turn redirects to the spammer’s own Web site.”

Key findings from the May 2011 report include:

Spam: In May 2011, the global ratio of spam in email traffic from new and previously unknown bad sources increased by 2.9 percentage points since April 2011 to 75.8% (1 in 1.32 emails).

In the US 76.4 percent of email was spam, 75.3 percent in Canada, 75.4 percent in the UK, and 73.9 percent in Australia.

Viruses: The global ratio of email-borne viruses in email traffic from new and previously unknown bad sources was one in 222.3 emails (0.450 percent) in May, a decrease of 0.143 percentage points since April.

Endpoint Threats: The most frequently blocked malware targeting endpoint devices for the last month was the W32.Ramnit!html, a worm that spreads through removable drives and by infecting executable files.

Phishing: In May, phishing activity was 1 in 286.7 emails (0.349 percent), a decrease of 0.06 percentage points since April.

Web security: Analysis of Web security activity shows that approximately 3,142 Web sites each day were harboring malware and other potentially unwanted programs including spyware and adware, an increase of 30.4 percent since April 2011. 36.8 percent of malicious domains blocked were new in May, an increase of 3.8 percentage points since April. Additionally, 24.6 percent of all web-based malware blocked was new in May, an increase of 2.1 percentage points since last month.

The May 2011 MessageLabs Intelligence Report provides greater detail on all of the trends and figures noted above, as well as more detailed geographical and vertical trends. The full report is available here.

Reading this type of report (or at least the highlights), can be a major step in expanding the sense of threat awareness that active Internet users’ require.

Symantec’s MessageLabs Intelligence is a respected source of data and analysis for messaging security issues, trends and statistics. MessageLabs Intelligence provides a range of information on global security threats based on live data feeds from control towers around the world scanning billions of messages each week.

About Symantec:

Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organizations secure and manage their information-driven world. Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. More information is available at www.symantec.com.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.


Filed under Cyber Crime, Cyber Criminals, cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Email, email scams, Internet Security Alerts, MessageLabs, Online Safety, spam, Symantec, Windows Tips and Tools

Take The Emotion Out Of Your Emails With Free ToneCheck Beta

image When we communicate with others, it’s obviously important that we create an environment that allows the message to be heard – the right message. Sounds pretty simple, but it’s easy to forget that every communication gets translated by the recipient, not only for literal content, but most importantly, for tone. Use the wrong tone in communicating, and the message gets lost.

It’s easier to communicate the right tone in face to face conversation since we have the benefit of direct observation, which allows us to recognize subtle hints in body language, facial expressions, and so on, than it is in written communication.

Written language can often be more complicated than verbal, and what we intend to say can easily be interpreted in ways that were unintended. If I think you’re calling me an idiot (and you may not be), I’m certainly not going to listen  to what you have to say.

So, while you may be convinced that you are saying what you mean to say in an email, the recipient may be reading something entirely different – something that’s not intended.

It might surprise you to learn that studies show email messages are interpreted incorrectly 50% of the time. And, the culprit is almost always the tone of the message as interpreted by the recipient.

From a business perspective it’s obviously important that you not be misunderstood; that the email recipient clearly understands what you mean to say.

To ensure your emails are constructed in a way that miscommunication is reduced or eliminated, a check system of some sort would be an ideal solution. You could have an unbiased co-worker check your emails for tone, for example or, you could take advantage of a recently released free beta product, ToneCheck being offered by Lymbix. ToneCheck identifies and flags emotionally charged sentences within your email message.

The following graphic illustrates ToneCheck in action.


Fast facts:

Tone Editor helps you adjust and preview the emotion in your message before sending.

Tone Alert  flagging device notifies you upon pressing “send” when an e-mail falls outside your acceptable tone tolerance. Adjust or ignore? It’s up to you.

Tone Tolerance allows you to choose your acceptable tone tolerance, and customize your settings in the configuration panel for more or less sensitivity.

Ease of Access Add-in installs within your existing e-mail client without the need for additional software.

Works with: Microsoft Outlook 2003, Microsoft Outlook 2007, Microsoft Outlook 2010.

Note: According to ToneCheck, they are developing versions for Apple Mail, Gmail, and Thunderbird.

Sign up for an account and download at: ToneCheck

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.


Filed under Beta Software, Communication, downloads, Email, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools, Writing Aids