Wednesday, August 08, 2007

New Spamming Tactics

Spamming is the flooding of electronic mail systems with “junk e-mail”. Also known as unsolicited bulk messages sent through the electronic messaging systems.

Widely recognised form of spam is e-mail spam. Others types of spam are instant messaging spam, newsgroup spam, search engine spam, spam in blogs, mobile phone messaging spam and Internet forum spam.

Anti-spam software helps to reduce the influx of the unsolicited e-mails tremendously. This is evidenced in the Web-based e-mails services providers such as Yahoo, Google and Hotmail, where spam mails are easily filter out and diverted to the spam folders.

Now, the spammers are coming out with new tactics to outsmart this anti-spam software. These new tactics are PDF Spam, Piggyback Spam and Greeting Card Spam.

PDF Spam
E-mail message containing only a subject line and a PDF file attached. The receiver of the PDF spam will be curious to know the content of the PDF file attached that they will open it and read. Spammers are using PDF spam because most spam filters are unable to screen the contents of a PDF attachment. Solution: If you come across any e-mail message that has a PDF file attached but no text in the message area, just delete it.

Piggyback Spam
Highly graphical e-mail messages that look like they come from large retailers. They will ask you to click on a link if you cannot ‘view’ the message properly. Another tactic used is to include a few links in the message that will allow you to ask the company to stop sending you mail, register for access to some site or contact customer services. The links may actually lead to a downloaded file which in turn may install malware or spyware. These files may also send out spam from your computer. Solution: If you receive any e-mail from a retailer you’ve never heard or agreed to receive email from, just delete it immediately.

Greeting Card Spam
E-mail messages devised to look like greeting cards. However, it may contain dangerous virus. In the traditional e-greeting card systems, recipient would have to click on the link to view the full-blown greeting card online. The same concept is being applied in this spam. If you click on the link in a spammer’s e-card, it is most likely you are downloading a virus. Solution: Delete any e-card received from unknown person.

Other solution:

  • Before clicking on any links, hovers your mouse cursor over the link.
  • A full Internet address will appear.
  • Study the full Internet address for a moment, even if you do not know exactly how to interpret it.
  • If you see numbers or words does not correspond to the company that send you the email, delete it immediately.
  • If you see an “.exe” or “.com” at the end of the address, delete it immediately too.
  • Flag the spam for your spam filter to improve it catch rate.

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