Thursday, November 22, 2007

Symantec predicts a flood of spam this holiday season!


dejaking posted this picture of the 2005 Symantec Christmas Party on Flickr. I wonder if they will be singing the "12 days of Christmas Spam" at this year's party. The words for this song (written by some creative Symantec types) are at the bottom of this post!

With Black Friday upon us and Cyber Monday a few days away, spammers are preparing to flood the Internet with their attempts to commit fraud, phishing and financial misdeeds.

There is no doubt that spam is the vehicle used to spread 99 percent of the scams on the Internet. From misleading advertising to outright criminal schemes, spam has become a potential threat to anyone who uses the Internet.

Just clicking on a spam link can download malicious software on your system, which can steal all your personal and financial details.

According to the National Retail Federation 39 percent of us are going to do some shopping on line. If gas prices continue to go up, we might see this number go up (my prediction).

If this occurs, this could be extremely lucrative for e-commerce merchants. Online sales are already predicted to be $26 billion this season -- up $5 billion from last year's figure of 21 billion, according to the Conference Board.

Spam is a big business that has a negative impact on the economy. The estimate of how much negative impact spam causes has reached $100 billion a year, worldwide. $35 billion of this is in the United States, according to Ferris Research.

According to Symantec -- a leading computer security company, who monitors 450 million inboxes for spam -- 71 percent of e-mail sent out is spam.

This is up from 59 percent of the e-mail sent out a year ago.

Symantec is also predicting the top lures spammers will be using to trap people in their web-of-deceit:

1. Laptops

2. Replica watches (historically the most popular online
holiday buy according to NRF)

3. Business cards (even Santa doesn’t leave home without them, at least that’s the case in the spam sample going around)

4. Male enhancement drugs (always a popular sale during the holidays)

5. MP3 Players

6. Discount software (who wants to pay hundreds of
dollars for that new Office suite for your new PC, when you can get it for $25?)

7. Free cellphones

8. Handheld video games

9. Weight loss solutions (playing right into the pending New Year’s resolutions of shedding those added holiday pounds)

10. Gift cards (from every imaginable large retailer and up to $500)
Here are Symantec's recommended Best Practices to Can Holiday Spam:

1. Protect your desktop with an up-to-date antivirus, firewall, and spam filter.

2. Do not click on, or reply to, any email that appears to be spam. Doing so could alert the spammer(s) that the user is replying from a legitimate email address (therefore, the spammer would find it worth the time to send more spam in the direction of that Inbox).

3. Never click on any link in a suspicious email. If it is felt that the sender is legitimate, contact the sender directly (not by email) to ensure the email message is also legitimate.

I would also add to make sure you only shop on legitimate websites that can be verified. One way to verify if a site is legitimate is to use TrustWatch. The site uses a color-coded system, which shows whether or not a site has been verified.

There are a lot of fake websites out there, which often appear to be real. While there is no way to be 100 percent sure because sites are sometimes hacked, it pays to be cautious.

Get Safe Online has a page on their site, which gives more detail on how to spot fake websites, here.

To end on a lighter note, the folks at Symantec seem to have changed the words to the 12 days of Christmas:

12 Days of Christmas Spam

On the first day of Christmas,
a spammer offered me
A brand new shiny PC

On the second day of Christmas,
a spammer offered me
A Rolex watch,
And a brand new shiny PC

On the third day of Christmas,
a spammer offered me
Cheesy business cards,
A Rolex watch,
And a brand new shiny PC

On the fourth day of Christmas,
a spammer offered me
H – D - TV,
Cheesy business cards,
A Rolex watch,
And a brand new shiny PC

On the fifth day of Christmas,
a spammer offered me
Vi – A – Grrrr -Ra,
H – D - TV,
Cheesy business cards,
A Rolex watch,
And a brand new shiny PC

On the sixth day of Christmas,
a spammer offered me
A pink iPod Nano,
Vi – A – Grrrr -Ra,
H – D - TV,
Cheesy business cards,
A Rolex watch,
And a brand new shiny PC

On the seventh day of Christmas,
a spammer offered me
Super chee – eap software,
A pink iPod Nano,
Vi – A – Grrrr -Ra,
H – D - TV,
Cheesy business cards,
A Rolex watch,
And a brand new shiny PC

On the eighth day of Christmas,
a spammer offered me,
A blue Razr cellphone,
Super chee - eap software
A pink iPod Nano,
Vi – A – Grrrr -Ra,
H – D - TV,
Cheesy business cards,

A Rolex watch,
And a brand new shiny PC

On the ninth day of Christmas,
a spammer offered me
Nintendo D – ee - Ses,
A blue Razr cellphone,
Super chee - eap software,
A pink iPod Nano,
Vi – A – Grrrr -Ra,
H – D - TV,
Cheesy business cards,
A Rolex watch,
And a brand new shiny PC

On the tenth day of Christmas,
a spammer offered me
A Canon camera
Nintendo D – ee - Ses,
A blue Razr cellphone,
Super chee - eap software,
A pink iPod Nano,
Vi – A – Grrrr -Ra,
H – D - TV,
Cheesy business cards,
A Rolex watch,
And a brand new shiny PC

On the eleventh day of Christmas,
a spammer offered me
The perfect weight loss drug,
A Canon camera,
Nintendo D – ee - Ses,
A blue Razr cellphone,
Super chee - eap software,
A pink iPod Nano,
Vi – A – Grrrr -Ra,
H – D - TV,
Cheesy business cards,
A Rolex watch,
And a brand new shiny PC

On the twelfth day of Christmas,
a spammer offered me
$500 gift cards
The perfect weight loss drug,
A Canon camera,
Nintendo D – ee - Ses,
A blue Razr cellphone,
Super chee - eap software,
A pink iPod Nano,
Vi – A – Grrrr -Ra,
H – D - TV,
Cheesy business cards,
A Rolex watch,
And a brand new shiny PC

2 comments:

chris said...

Hi,

We have recently launched a {designer handbag | designer watches | designer
jewellery } (choose one which is most appropriate) blog and we are looking
to spread the word and get in contact with similar websites to ours to
promote relevant blogs and websites.

Please email me at chriss714@gmail.com

Thanks
Chris

CynicGeek said...

Hmmmmmmmmmm....

Is the comment above SPAM?

SPAM IT IS!