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Scammers Have Lots of Love for Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is coming up this weekend. While you likely associate it with chocolate, flowers, and romance, those of us in the security world also identify it with something entirely different – malware. As we’ve approached February 14, there has, not surprisingly, been a rise in Valentine’s-related online ploys. Malware authors are notorious for exploiting various worldwide events and holidays, like Valentine’s Day, to target people with threats.
As this is one of the most popular days to receive e-mail and online greetings, here’s a basic list of “do’s and don’ts” to keep in mind in terms of e-mail attachments and links – a favorite means employed by the bad guys to try to get in to your system.
- DO be wary of Valentine’s Day e-cards, news and special offers that you receive through your inbox or on social networking sites – remember that you need to be on the lookout for phishing and spam messages that are designed to look legitimate, and ultimately infect your computer with malware or get you to divulge sensitive personal information through social engineering tactics.
- DON’T open unsolicited e-mail or click on any links in messages unless you know where it came from, and what the message contains. Don’t let your curiosity put you at risk; no matter how tempting a note from your ‘secret admirer’ may be, there’s a great likelihood that in reality it’s none other than a cyber scammer!
- DO trust your instincts and investigate the message if something seems suspicious. Many e-card service providers, such as Hallmark, have helpful information on their websites that you can you use to check the validity of electronic greetings. Take a look at these types of tips before opening e-mail attachments or clicking URL’s within a message.
- DO run up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware, like Ad-Aware Plus or Pro. Also make sure to update your PC with the latest security patches from Microsoft (if you don’t already have automatic update turned on to receive a prompt) – this week’s Patch Tuesday saw the release of 13 security bulletins to address 26 vulnerabilities in Windows and Office software.
Happy Valentine’s Day – and be smart and safe out there as the holiday approaches!