Top Eight Areas For Malicious Spam: Are you Prepared?
Spammers prey on people’s desire for more information in the wake of a major event. Spam volume was on a downward trend worldwide in 2013.
However, while the overall volume may have decreased, the proportion of maliciously intended spam remained constant. Spammers use speed as a tool to abuse email users’ trust, delivering massive amounts of spam when news events or trends lower recipients’ resistance to spam scams.
One example is an event such as the Boston Marathon, where research by Cisco uncovered that
In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013, two large-scale spam
Campaigns commenced—one on April 16 and another on April 17—designed to attract email users hungry for news of the event’s impact. Cisco researchers first detected the registration of hundreds of bombing-related domain names just hours after the Boston Marathon attacks occurred. Both spam campaigns carried subject lines about supposed news bulletins relating to the bombings, while the messages contained links that claimed to lead to videos of the bomb explosions or news from reputable media sources. The links directed recipients to WebPages that included links to real news stories or videos—but also malicious frames designed to infect the visitors’ computers. At its peak, spam related to the Boston Marathon bombing made up 40 percent of all spam messages delivered worldwide on April 17, 2013.
Because breaking news spam is so immediate, email users are more likely to believe the spam messages are legitimate. Spammers prey on people’s desire for more information in the wake of a major event. When spammers give online users what they want, it’s much easier to trick them into a desired action, such as clicking an infected link. It’s also much easier to prevent them from suspecting that something is wrong with the message.
There is a pattern of “themes” for spam messages tracked worldwide in 2013.
Top Themes for Spam Messages Worldwide:
- Notifications for deposits, transfers,
- payments, returned check, fraud alert.
Product order confirmation, request
- Purchase order, quote, trial.
- Attached Photo
- Malicious attached photos.
Invoices, delivery or pickup, tracking.
Online dating sites.
- Tax documents, refunds, reports,
- Debt information, online tax filings.
- Account status, updates, notifications,
- security software.
Gift Card or Voucher
- Alerts from a variety of stores
- (Apple was the most popular).
- Account update, confirmation,
- Payment notification, payment dispute
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