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Spammers Exploiting Rising Unemployment to Download Malware

Security firm Symantec released its latest report entitled "State of Spam" according to which, rising unemployment due to the economic meltdown was the most preferred bait that spammer used to exploit Internet surfers in February 2009.

An analysis of various spam mails related to jobs sent out recently shows fresh subject lines like "Free time job from home," "HURRY! I found you a new job," "FW: Global job vacancy-apply now," "Get the Job fast this one," and "Job you might be interested in!"

These e-mails often asked their recipients to furnish their private information like full name, age, residence phone number, mobile phone number and office phone number. Security researchers state that unemployed people do not think twice before proceeding to open these e-mails. Further, majority of users fails to understand that most of these e-mails come as unsolicited mass e-mail.

Besides, Symantec noted excessive spam mails that distributed annoying malware in the recipients' mailboxes. According to the company, one of the e-mails was a rejection message that said - the sender regretted to inform the recipient that his experience and qualifications didn't suit the post for which he applied. But the e-mail contained a URL that connected to a legitimate website.

The message also stated that the sender had enclosed a copy of application he sent. However, if a user opened the enclosure, the Hacktool.Spammer virus was installed on his system with which a hacker could flood the user's inbox with e-mails.

Speaking to SCMagazineUS on March 17, 2009, Dermot Harnett, Principal Analyst of anti-spam Engineering, Symantec, said if anyone posts applications for numerous jobs, and comes across e-mails talking about job application cancellation, he might feel like opening them and also proceed to click on the given link.

Harnett added this is clearly a lure by the spammers to enter the victim's mailbox.

In addition, security researchers stated that spammers were constantly taking advantage of the economic meltdown, with the Symantec's report for February 2009 also indicating that the topic was foremost on all spammers' list.

Related article: Spammers Continue their Campaigns Successfully

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