US is most prevalent spam producing nation in 2013

Data ProtectionThe midpoint of the calendar year provides businesses with a chance to evaluate their progress so far so that they can make more accurate predictions about the six months to come, adjusting to changing conditions on the fly.  The anti-malware industry is no different, and since they are continually chasing a moving target as cybercriminals and hackers become ever more ingenious, any business that depends on IT functions would be well-advised to take a close look at how computer protection issues have evolved during the first half of 2013.

According to major computer safety firms in the United States, spam email messages containing suspicious attachments or other threats continue to pose a problem for businesses both large and small.  Interestingly enough, it appears that during the first six months of the year, the most prevalent spam-producing nation was actually the United States, followed by the Eastern European nation of Belarus.

Counterfeit billing

Spam, of course, is nothing new, but cybercriminals are now turning to a new suite of tricks to persuade the unwary into clicking on links that will direct them to sites laden with malware – or will trigger a suspect download to begin.  One such trick is the counterfeit invoice.  Customers who believe that they owe money are more likely to regard the document as genuine, which can make them willing to click on a link purporting to take them to detailed account data or other relevant information.

This lack of caution can unfortunately occur among business customers as well as private individuals, making employee training just as important as a companywide IT strategy for stamping out spam email messages before they even land in workers’ inboxes.

Spam as a distraction from the real fraud

Another new strategy becoming more prevalent is DSD, or a “Distributed Spam Distraction” tactic.  With this approach, cybercriminals who have compromised a financial account proceed to direct a flood of spam emails to the individual or business associated with the account.  The hope is that emails that might reveal the fraud will not be seen in a timely manner; such helpful emails include confirmations of balance transfers or receipts for purchases.

IT experts advise that if a flood of spam emails begins to descend, the affected businesses or individuals should immediately assume that data security on their credit or banking accounts has been compromised. As such, steps should be taken at once to regain proper control of all information resources associated with such accounts.

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Learn more about the author Bob Martin