How much of all email traffic consists of spam? Seventy-three percent. The answer seems surprising at first – until you think about how many messages are stocked in your spam file and how many still manage to get through. Symantec.cloud MessageLabs newest intelligence report, however, indicates one small victory in the ongoing battle against spam.
According to web security firm, Symantec, spam declined 6.4 percent in April. While virus and phishing levels remain about the same, the number of sites blocked for containing malicious code dropped by almost 20 percent. To what can we attribute these impressive gains?
- Several large-scale botnets were recently targeted and taken down. These were a major source of spam.
- Search companies are having success decreasing spam volume with cloud technology, including malware-sensing capabilities built into a variety of service.
This is good news, but there is a downside. Wide-scale spam attacks are decreasing – but on the flip-side, attacks on individuals are increasing. These attacks are targeted towards specific people and organizations. Those on social network sites are especially vulnerable, so, as always, caution is essential because the hackers have access to intel on a target.
According to a 2010 Symantec report, “By sneaking in among our friends, hackers can learn our interests, gain our trust, and convincingly masquerade as friends. Long gone are the days of strange email addresses, bad grammar, and obviously malicious links. A well-executed social engineering attack has become almost impossible to spot.”
To avoid such an attack, be careful about posting sensitive information, be cautious of links, especially those which are shortened URLs. You have to be careful even if it appears that these links are posted on your newsfeed. Watch out for applications, such as surveys and quizzes, and monitor your security settings.
For SEO purposes, your social networking profiles may be public, so be especially careful of the information and photos you post. And as a rule, never send money to anyone – friend or not – on Facebook.