New Delhi: Come Valentine’s Day and there is a heightened activity of spammers to con people of their money and hack their computers with words like Valentine, cupid, love and gift in the subject line.
Once people click on the link that is there in such mails, they are directed to a fraud website and the computer gets infected with viruses, and finally, the spammer gains access to the data on the hard disk of the computer.
“Precious data can be lost and the computer can be used for illegal purposes as well, since the computer can be remotely accessed by the hacker,” Symantec Country sales manager (India-Consumer Products and Solutions) Gaurav Kanwal said.
According to a study by the data protection solution provider, there is an increased activity around occasions like Valentine’s Day as people shop online for gifts and flowers. Also, for something like the Obama campaign, spammers used catchy phrases like ‘Our President - In His Own Words´, ‘Limited edition Obama coin now available to you´ or ‘Obama caught hot´ to lure users to such websites.
“The spammers use what is the latest--be it Valentine’s Day, New Year or even Obama’s presidential campaign. Each of these spam emails contained a hyperlink that, when clicked on, directed the user to a web page that looked very similar to the official Obama-Biden campaign site,” Kanwal said.
The fraud site tries to install malware onto the computer (somewhat like hacking) and the infected computer can also be used to infect other computers, he added.
What started as just a fun activity has now turned into serious business and millions of dollars are lost to such fraud websites.
“There are banking sites that look like the original ones and people unknowingly key in their details, after which the spammer has the person’s bank details and can easily launder money from the account,” Kanwal said.
A report by networking giant Cisco suggests that spam accounts for nearly 200 billion e-mails sent each day.
While the United States is the biggest source at 17.2%, other countries like Turkey (9.2%), Russia (8%), Canada (4.7%), Brazil (4.1%), India (3.5%), Poland (3.4 %), South Korea (3.3%), Germany and the United Kingdom (2.9% each) also account for a sizeable number of spam mails.