email advertising used for malware distribution

10 June 2014

Some spammers are smart, brilliant in fact devising fantastically authentic looking emails purporting to be from Facebook, Linkedin, your bank, your online gaming company and it is so easy to fall for it, even if you are naturally cautious.
A conservative estimate is 85% of email worldwide is spam.
Anti virus software
The definition of spam is unsolicited email sent in bulk to an indiscriminate audience.
Spamming is advertising, be it for watching a six nations match at Twickenham, travelling on the orient express or reducing hair loss. 
Spamming is also used for distribution of malware to infect your pc's, steal your information and use your pc or pc network, your identity and your bandwidth to further distribute spam. 
The various email campaign companies have a proviso that you are compelled to agree to prior to using their facilities acknowledging that you are not sending unsolicited mail. 
People pay lip service, the vendors demonstrate compliance and the despatch of emails to purchased databases continues. Suspension of service by the email campaign company occurs when the account gets too many complaints. 
The collection (harvesting) of email addresses and the sale of them in bulk databases is big business and every day thousands of email addresses and domains are created and become redundant.
Ever noticed a trend where your name is spelt slightly differently, but the occurrence  relates to emails from many different business sectors? 
Can you relate to instances where the email greeting adopts the formal Susan, Thomas, Robert, Eleanor and William in instances where the abbreviated Sue, Tom, Bob, Ellie and Bill have long been in use?
It's a bit of a giveaway confirming that you are on one or more databases that you have knowingly or unwittingly contributed to for which many people have subsequently paid money for (many times).
Spam is never going to go away, though as a result of the inroads made by antivirus, scanning systems and the implementation of laws (in some countries and states) there has been a quite significant drop.
However, as a result of legislation against spamming and the wider public acceptance of the need for antivirus software ( the free versions, or the full versions that seem to swallow 50% of your ram) the spammers have adopted other methods to evade prosecution and confiscation of resources;
namely by hijacking personal and business pc's and networks.
The ever growing network of vulnerable, compromised computers send the spam.
The spammers remain incognito, the compromised pc’s suffer bandwidth issues, privacy is a thing of the past and in due course emails start bouncing back to the said network as the IP addresses associated with the email addresses are blacklisted and friends, relations and the customer base are suddenly not receiving your emails anymore.
Once the server is blacklisted, the emails can not be delivered and are returned to the originating email address and the 43,000 undeliverable messages despatched from just one single email address return to completely swamp the inbox.
Inevitably, somewhere in the middle of all that is email number 16,457  which is genuine and represents the life changing correspondence that you have been waiting for all week, but alas you need to get check through the previous 16,456 emails to get to it.
The knock on effect, if your email account is, as the majority of people's are, on a shared server is to compromise the sending and receiving of emails by other users as one and all typically share the same IP or IP address range.
This doesn't just happen to other people (all the time) and the risks in terms of time, disaster recovery, loss of business and the cost to fix it all adds up, not to mention loss of productivity, enhanced if you have a team made temporarily redundant as a result of the compromise.
In addition, many of the spammers leave a "back door" on your pc giving them access to pop back in the future when they have a moment.
It may sound simplistic, and in most instances the diligence of your ISP will be the difference between disaster and the loss of a few hours.
It must be noted that antivirus is retrospective and the threat is only met and countered after it has got halfway round this increasingly connected planet.
How do you limit your exposure ? read more….

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