Spammers Intend Catering to All This Christmas

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Bangkok, Thailand  Dec,23 2013: ‘Hello world’ we are digital! Well that was ages ago. Today the need for speed has made us extra fast. A click of a button and the desired webpage is up and running in an instant. In fact, organizations are switching to the Web because of cost effective business and global presence the Internet provides. This phenomenon has made predators smack their lips. What better environment to make a kill than Christmas, with the unaware and the vulnerable abound!

With a systematic study of business done during Christmas, spammers have leveraged a plethora of categories since early July, ranging from hospitality-related spam for those who plan early on how to celebrate Christmas later in the year, to last minute shoppers who scramble to buy gifts before rushing home. Now, that is a well-planned spread.

 Figure 1. A preview of hospitality spam

For the vacation planner, there is a hospitality-related spam, with headers reading:

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Figure 2. A preview of a Nigerian-type spam

• For the one in need of cash, there is the odd Nigerian type lottory promotion. The email header reads:

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 Figure 3.   A preview of personalized gifts spam

• For those intending to gift something memorable, there are blocks, chocolates and ornaments to gift. The emails have the following headers:

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 Figure 4.   A preview of personalized spam email for kids

For your kids, there are personalized surveys with Santa’s greetings, specially crafted for your needs. The email header reads:

image005Figure 5.  A pie chart depicting Christmas spam volume

Overall, the spam panorama this Christmas looks pervasive. The aim is to harness curiosity laced with fantastic offers that can exploit unhealthy user practices, unsecured systems and half-baked solutions. The focus of spammers continue to be on how to best understand and exploit human tendencies and then to entice users to either compromise sensitive information or visit a dubious webpage.

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 Symantec advises users to pay attention to details while judging the genuineness of the mail by considering the following:

  • Did you subscribe or unsubscribe to such offers in the past?
  • Is it one of those forwarded mails a friend has been ensnared into?
  • Is the sender, the context and content of the mail authentic?

We encourages users to be alert during this festive season while dealing with online offers through emails. Symantec has protection in place to stop malware and spam and advise users to regularly update antivirus signatures to stay protected from latest threats. Protect yourself and limit the amount of your personal information on the public domain.

Symantec wishes you a safe and merry Christmas.