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Italian Spammers Misuse Lawyers’ Names

In Italy, spammers are distributing e-mails, which pose to be from lawyers. The e-mail warns legal action on the recipients who do not clean up the alleged infection in their machines. The spam mail contains a "helpful link" to a 'removal tool' and here is the catch. The link is actually a Trojan. The e-mail includes names and contact information of actual lawyers, which is causing concern for those whose names appear in the e-mail.

McAfee's Allysa Myers has described the problem at the 'Avert Blog' and rated it as a demonstration of a social engineering technique. McAfee said it received reports from people in Italy who got similar e-mails, but these people were angry business partners, rather than lawyers.
The case shows how miscreants have taken advantage of the lack of security awareness within small businesses. Small firms may consider themselves too insignificant to be the target of spammers, but their systems may be as valuable as a Fortune 500 company.

The bandwidth of small companies is often larger and of higher quality than a home PC. So, the employees' names and contact info are very useful for such spammers. The small companies are more liable to be hit by 'DoS attacks' or 'extortion attempts', while they probably don't have trained security personnel.

There is not much distinction between online and offline criminals. Both try to target vulnerable victims who are not wary of their surroundings. And they hope to gain some extra valuables with the least effort.

The small businessmen should understand the value of the customer information they possess. Their database of names, date of birth, and Social Security numbers are enough for criminals to commit 'identity theft and fraud'.

Myers cautions people to be careful with e-mails, however urgent they may appear. It is necessary to verify links and attachments with the e-mail sender, especially if one is not expecting it. Also, to protect oneself from being an "apparent sender", it is important to consider the information one avails from the Internet.

E-mail recipients should be skeptical of e-mails that request such clean-up action or those that represent a fake charity or request voluntary payment.

Related article: Italian Researcher Detects New QuickTime Hole

» SPAMfighter News - 12/16/2006

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