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Obama, McCain & Olympic Spam Doing Rounds Since July

According to security vendor Symantec's "State of Spam Report" for July 2008, 78% of the e-mails sent during July this year were spam.

The security company also indicated that since the starting of August 2008, Olympic games are being used as the main target in most spam campaigns.

The company further said that in July 2008, it noted the US Presidential hopefuls, Barrack Obama and John McCain, as the favorite targets among numerous spammers who are trying to lure users into opening their e-mails by sensationalizing fake news events.

These fake news headlines, says the security company, included "Beijing Olympics postponed on account of meeting between McCain and Dalai Lama", "Beijing Olympics cancelled," "Obama speaks in London - video", and "McCain says unsure if Obama a secret hippopotamus Kick-up", amongst others. It is clear that spam mailers still use current events for enticing users to view their malevolent messages.

According to the company, the samples it observed and assessed have URLs hosting malicious software. It also reported that a link continues to exist between spam messages and other online dangers.

Also, in July 2008, a spam e-mail that included an announcement of the beginning of the World War Three in a message as well as a Trojan horse in an attached file was noticed. The case is another instance of spammers exploiting human inquisitiveness to open e-mails with sensational headlines and in the process download Trojan programs on their computers.

Meanwhile, to make Internet surfers more security conscious, prior to opening of e-mails, Symantec said that if a headline in any e-mail appears sensational, then it is important to ensure that the recipient does not click on any link. Rather, it is safe to use the browser to go to a legitimate news site and check the veracity of the headline, as reported by SDAASIA on August 7, 2008.

Also, according to Symantec, users need to always exercise caution while sharing personal details online because they never know if they land up in phishers' hands.

Related article: Open SSL Flaw Invites Forgery

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