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News

Spammers change tack to cash in on Christmas cheer

Sophos : 23 December, 2008  (Technical Article)
Sophos warns of seasonal trimmings added to spam e-mails at this time of year designed to lure more readers into buying their products
IT security and control firm Sophos is warning users to stay vigilant over the festive period as Viagra spammers up their game to cash in on computer users' goodwill and Christmas cheer by using a multitude of seasonal-themed trimmings in their emails to snare innocent users.

Samples intercepted this morning at SophosLabs show that spammers have adopted snow-covered sales pitches in the run up to Christmas in an attempt to entice users. The spam emails, which have subject lines including 'I lost your cell number', 'It's my new mail' and 'I got lost in town', show pictures of sexual enhancement drugs like Cialis and Viagra covered in snow with the legend 'Merry Christmas'.

'As many offices around the world wind down for the holidays, the notorious Viagra spammers never sleep - they've modified their relentless campaign to prey on computer users' desire to have some fun between the sheets at Christmas,' said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. 'Computer users must remember that it would be foolhardy to ever buy drugs and medications via the internet: not only do you encourage the spammers to continue their unsavoury activities, but how can you be sure that you will receive legitimate medications?'

'These spam gangs have already shown that they are prepared to break the law by compromising innocent people's computers and showing bogus 'from' details in their email, so why would they baulk at posting dodgy drugs too?' continued Cluley. 'Sophos advises users not to put their health at risk - never buy goods sold via spam, and have yourself a safe and happy Christmas.'

Sophos recommends that all computer users exercise caution when opening unsolicited emails, and ensure they are fully defended against attacks, including spam, phishing and malware.
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