Is your email inbox suddenly a little leaner? Less Viagra and Penny Stock emails getting through? It's all a great sign for the war against spam but experts are worried that, since criminals go where the action is, they are just up to new tricks.
On Christmas Day, the Rustock Botnet, which seems to have replaced Mega-D for generating high volumes of spam, they are known for fake drug ads, was quiet. Maybe cybercriminals do take days off? Highly unlikely. Rustock Botnet potentially owns 1.7 million computers and uses those to generate and send more spam.
Rustock cranked back up again after the New Year but not at the same volumes.
What targets can you expect for this year?
1. Shortened links: hiding behind those shortened links so popular in social networking sites.
2. Smishing: text messages on your cell phone that look legitimate but the link is not
3. Click through Ad fraud: You click on an add for a legitimate product or company that has been hijacked or counterfeited
4. Poisoned Searches: Creating web sites that generate traffic so they hit the top of your search engine results and lead you to click on a link that is hiding malicious software
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PROTECT YOURSELF:
Instead of clicking on the link, type the headline into your favorite search engine and connect via the original web site through the search engine link provided.
Use a tool like Norton's safe web tool or ExpandMyURL. You can type in the link and get a report on the reputation of the site or the link. Go to: http://safeweb.norton.com/ or http://www.expandmyurl.com/
"Experts fear cyberspammers are plotting new attack modes", Byron Acohido, USA Today, January 11, 2011.
Previous blog post, "Have Cybercreeps Gone Vegetarian on Us?" and sources from January 5, 2011.
WBTV Protecting Your Cyberturf Segment, "The New Hiding Spot for Spam", January 13, 2011.