How Spam Emails Are Used For Criminal Activities
In this day and age almost everybody that has access to the internet also has an online e-mail account. And if you have an e-mail account, spam is definitely an issue that you have encountered. According to Trend Micro’s report covering January to June 2010, spam makes up for 97 percent of all e-mails in circulation on the internet. Spam has proven to be the most frequently used mechanism for spreading malicious payloads.
The extremely low costs of sending e-mails as well as the vast amount of e-mails that can be sent by botnets, has encouraged spammers to continue using this tool for criminal activities. Spammers can use e-mail to execute the following malicious activities:
Distribute links to rogue websites
E-mails can and have been used to advertise and distribute links to websites especially created for criminal activities such as the selling of non-existent or counterfeit goods and services. This includes the notorious Canadian Pharmacy website and websites that offer fake antispyware applications and more. Once a user pays for a fake service or product, the cyber criminal will not only have his/her money but his/her banking details as well.
Execute Phishing scams
Phishing e-mails are often used to harvest confidential information out of recipients. These e-mails are often disguised and appear to have been sent by a legitimate source such as Facebook. They often require a recipient to provide private information such as passwords, credit card details or usernames in order to update an account.
Spread harmful attachments
Spammers can craft persuasive e-mails that prompt a victim to open an attachment that will actually do more harm to a system than good. Such e-mails can come with anything from crafty HTML Attachments to dangerous malware such as password-stealing Trojans.
So next time you see unsolicited e-mails in your inbox, remember just how much harm they can do to you and delete them as soon as possible. Do you know of any other malicious activities that criminals execute via e-mail?