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Spammers Exploiting Economic Crisis to Rob Unsuspecting E-mail Users

According to the "State of Spam" report by Symantec for March 2009, the economy continues to be popular bait for spammers. Thus, the most common topics for spam during February 2009 consisted of the financial stimulus deal, get-rich-fast schemes, and vacation trips, the firm said.

Symantec further revealed that in the 1st week of February 2009, there were a series of spam campaigns relating to the stimulus payments. Spam mails kept on flowing ranging from bogus IRS (Internal Revenue Service) e-mails to e-mails promoting "stimulus payment" packages.

A typical message of such "stimulus payment" says that the recipient could avail the 'economic stimulus payment' of the government by clicking on a URL link given in the message.

Hence, people need to be wary of such e-mails during the current difficult economic situation and do not allow spammers to steal their private information, said Symantec. The criminals might use the stolen information to victimize unwitting individuals and corrupt their systems with malicious content.

According to the company, as economic woes pile up worldwide and the media intensely covers the downturn, spammers clearly appear to rely on the economic spam to spread their malware and make profits, as reported by vnunet on March 17, 2009.

Besides, other popular spam topic during February 2009 was the Oscar. Of the celebrity names that were most profusely searched via search engines, spammers exploited Brad Pitt, the Hollywood actor, during 2008. Even McAfee reported during September 2008 that spammers used Brad Pitt as their favorite target to lure e-mail users.

Additionally, Symantec discovered that online services and lawful websites formed the most highly used spam category, accounting for 27% of all spam during February 2009. The second spam category related to health topics, and other messages that followed touted leisure products and financial services, claiming 16% of the total spam.

Symantec further disclosed that of the entire e-mail traffic, 86% was spam and the United States led all other countries in global spam.

Related article: Spammers Continue their Campaigns Successfully

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