Posted by Geraldine Hunt on Sun, Feb 12th, 2012
The power of love! While legitimate stores are advertising chocolates and red roses in preparation for Valentine's Day, cybercriminals are also actively preparing for Valentine’s day. Analysts at SpamTitan have reported that, not surprisingly, the level of spam and phishing attacks surrounding Valentines day is increasing. Criminals are using a variety of formats including email containing links to malware infected sites and email containing infected attachments.
Growing on-line searchs present an opportunity for spammers
People are actively searching on-line for Valentine’s Day information and offers and this makes it a money-spinning opportunity for cybercriminals. Some of the phrases to look out for in email headers include ‘Valentine rose bouquet offer’, ‘Valentine’s Day jewelry’, ‘Will you be my Valentine?’. A survey (March 2010) from the Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group, an anti-spam trade organization reports that 11% (sample size 3716 ) of respondents clicked on a spam message they believed to be Spam. Of these surprisingly 15% clicked on the message because they were interested enough in the product offered to do so. SPAM will continue to exist as long as it is profitable and with growing numbers of people on the internet spammers have a growing market of millions of people for their spam. It’s purely a numbers game, the greater the market for the spammers the greater chance of a response and therefore the greater the reward.
Preventing a Valentines Day spam attack
To prevent these spam attacks, organisations need to remain vigilant and follow proven guidelines such as not clicking on links or attachments in unsolicited emails. To avoid becoming a victim of a phishing attack this valentines there are a few simple rules:
- Don't trust any unsolicited email, ever.
- Never “unsubscribe” from a service you haven’t subscribed for in the first place. You are literally handing your email address to spammers to use for future and possibly more targeted attacks.
- If you're interested in an offer contact the company behind the message by phone and verify that the message is genuine.
- Keep your company security solutions valid and up to date so that you can secure your organisations network.
- Employees and other insiders actions are responsible for the majority of security breaches, a culture of security awareness is an important factor in preventing these security failures.
Remember if you receive notice of a Valentines deal via email or on a social network, that sounds too good to be true, it probably is!.