Spam Traffic Hits Record High

In the third quarter of this year, spam of all types represented an average of 82.3 percent of all email traffic and malicious spam surged to a record high of 4.6 percent of all email, up from 1.9 percent last quarter, according to a report from security software vendor Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky Lab and other security software vendors are warning Internet users to be on the lookout for a variety of increasingly sophisticated malware traps that will use the upcoming holiday season to lure people into clicking on the tainted links. Similar scams using Facebook, eBay and Apple gift cards are among the most successful and damaging malware campaigns this quarter.

One highly used scam is the spoofing of web addresses. An email is used with an html attachment, which if clicked, takes the user to a bogus bank or e-payment site that asks for log-in credentials and other personal information. Those who fall for it end up having their most sensitive data forwarded to cybercrooks that attempt to steal their funds. What makes the scam hard to recognize is that the browser does not show the true web address to which the user will be redirected, but shows a fake address that looks just like the official website’s address. The Anti-Phishing Working Group has recently identified more than 126,000 fake websites created solely for the purpose of snaring unsuspecting users’ banking information.

The best advice is to never click on attachments in emails that come from an unknown address. Also, legitimate businesses will NEVER send an email with an attachment. If there is a link embedded in the body of the email, don’t click on it. Instead, type the official URL of the business in your browser’s address bar. If you have any doubts as the legitimacy of an email, check with the business by calling their customer service phone number.

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About MIT
IT Security Awareness Consultant and Communications Specialist at MIT

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