DIWALI SPAM

Cyber criminals become hyperactive during festivals. Diwali is no exception.

“Malware authors and spammers are diverting innocent users to fake shopping, gifting and travel sites. It’s not difficult to fall prey to an out-of-the-world offer,” Shantanu Ghosh, Vice-President and Managing Director (India Product Operations), Symantec, an Internet security solutions company.

Cyber-attackers use social-engineering tactics to lure users to purchase from or register on unknown Web sites. Users may be disclosing personal information to Internet scammers. “We advise users to be cautious when handling unsolicited offers or unexpected e-mails related to Diwali,” he said.

Ghosh said cyber criminals attempt to ‘poison’ search-engine results to take advantage of the huge rush in search activity during popular events.

“We have observed that cyber attackers are using various techniques to make the most of Diwali,” he warned in an advisory to Internet users.

There were instances where recipients were offered memberships to reputable holiday clubs. “Since people tend to travel during the holidays, we found many URLs redirecting users to travel-related sites. These kinds of spam messages have been around for quite some time,” he cautioned.

Safeguards

“Before giving into the temptation of clicking on a link in an e-mail, check whether it is an unsolicited offer and whether this Web site is authentic. You can safely ignore such mails that ask for unnecessary personal information such as passwords or pin numbers,” Symantec said.

kurmanath.kanchi@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 12, 2012)
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