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Hackers Using Mind Games For Spamming

A study conducted by McAfee, the security-solutions provider, discloses that the cyber criminals have now resorted to psychological games and other tactics for sending malicious and junk emails.

As per the rediff news on July 6, 2007, in the study, named 'Mind Games', James Blascovich, the author of the study and Psychology professor at the University of Calif., Santa Barbara, said that the scam spam appears best when the user is treated with an impression of legitimacy and familiarity. As the victim clicks and opens the mail, the criminal will move forth either to approach or to avoid, or probably both, to convince the users for clicking on the harmful link.

As per the estimation of Blascovich, the cyber attackers earn almost $15 million per day and $5.5 billion per year by spamming $20 from just .5 to 1% of the total US population.

Popular sites are the worst hit. In December 2006, the hackers attacked MySpace and used a worm to convert authentic links for attracting the customers to a phishing site specially meant for leaking personal data.

The hackers' mantra to success can be found in their adaptation of a sense of familiarity. The examples include one phishing scam, which illegally acquires confidential materials viz. usernames, password, financial statement by appearing as a recognized bank, Credit-Card Company, or probably a legal auction site.

According to SDA India on July 5, 2007, security research and communications manager McAfee, David Marcus said that, with increase in phishing emails, the crooks have started using more sophisticated messages for fooling all types of server including developed servers. He explains that previously the phishing mails contained some kind of mistakes like awkward language, typos or minor graphical mistakes, but the latest mails are flawless which appear more genuine and contain slicker graphics exactly like the ones used by prestigious institutions.

Apart from using the sense of familiarity, the hackers have started inserting fear tactics, through subject lines like "You are missing out", "Urgent Security Notification", "Your billing account records are out of date", "Must complete and submit" are some of the tactics which attract the users into opening these emails without actually knowing the consequences.

Related article: Hackers Redirect Windows Live Search to Malicious Sites

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