Monday, February 15, 2010

Fraudsters now targeting malware to individual consumers

When it comes to email most marketers know they must follow white-hat policies. Have email authenticated, use valid subject lines, clean the list regularly and pay attention to sender reputation. Despite this consumers are defrauded daily by fraudulent emails, making it more and more difficult for legitimate marketers to engage consumers. According to Symantec's MessageLabs, a new threat is now at the horizon: targeted, fraudulent emails. The research lab has identified Olympic-themed emails which appear to be legitimate - the messages even have actual travel and Olympic links - but hidden inside the message is an i-frame which could leave malware of consumer computers.

"We have seen three instances of this attack so far in February," said Paul Wood, Senior Intelligence Analyst with MessageLabs. "[This is] a very small number in terms of global malware, but by its nature it is not designed to be widespread. This targeted attack is meant to attempt to gain access to a small number of specific users' machines. If just one gets through, the damage to the victim could be substantial." The messages contained subject lines such as "Information and resources to help you travel during the 2010 Winter Games" and "How to make Olympics more interesting". The body of the messages seems innocuous, but an attached program file then attempts to install malware on the person's computer.

This is another example of why sender reputation is so important for legitimate email marketers and why white hat practices should always be followed. Consumers, more than ever, are smart about which emails they open but some are still fooled by spammers. A consumer only has to be burned once to never again open a message sent from someone other than a personal friend. By following the 'best practices' there is a better chance that consumers will actually open real email messages.



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Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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