Love means never having to say “you infected me”

David Utter of SecurityProNews filed this story yesterday about targeted holiday spam:

Like eating a box of chocolates, visiting sites touted by spam could leave people with a lot of regret. Security vendor BitDefender spotted waves of junk email promoting pharmaceuticals and replica watches.

Pharma spammers pitch drugs of all kinds. With this being Valentine’s Day, it isn’t difficult to erect an opinion about the kind of pharmaceuticals this wave of spam promoted, though BitDefender did not name any names.

As for replica watches, well, anyone who buys a fake Rolex for a significant other probably deserves whatever negative fallout comes from that. But since this means giving money to criminals, and personal data too, we have to advise people to steer clear of such come-ons, today or any other day.

“The most annoying and dangerously themed spam is an adware-carrying wave,” BitDefender noted. “The emails pretended to open a page specialized in sending e-cards (“Wish them love and a happy Valentines Day with one of our animated, personal greeting cards”), but instead the user was sent to a “smiley center”.”

“If the user downloaded the “free smiles”, an adware “gift” was also received,” they continued. Such a gift keeps on giving, in the form of popup ads and other CPU-draining or worse activities on a PC.

“Believe it or not, spammers are actually starting to target their messages in hopes of getting greater returns” Bogdan Dumitru, BitDefender CTO, said in the post.

“Users need to be wary of the different URLs they click on during holiday seasons, as they will start to notice their inboxes increasingly being flooded with targeted spam during these periods.”

Especially since infected hardware can put a crimp on one’s life, we suspect.

I can totally understand why ordinarily careful web surfers would click through on spam during a holiday buying season. Consider it in light of the comments I made yesterday about holiday paranoia: get something good or get in trouble.

Here you sit at 2am trolling theWeb for gift ideas, just hoping, praying, that some divine inspiration will come your way. You’ve got maybe two days left before the big day and time is running out, so you click on anything that could possibly save your ass — Vermont Teddy Bears, Pajama-Grams, Franklin Mint cherub figurines…anything. It’s desperation that leads people to make bad choices in situations like this, not stupidity (well, ok, a little stupidity). The folks who design spam campaigns know this and they capitalize upon it. Smart business practice on their part, eh?

In an unrelated note, all this talk of spam has made me hungry for it. I love those little spam sushi bricks they make in Hawaii. They fry up a little slab of meat, slap it onto sticky rice, and wrap it in nori. It’s damn good, too. I had to look up the name of it: musubi. One of those things you’d probably never eat at home, but is somehow perfectly delicious if you’re on vacation. Yummy. Actually, I’m not sure if I’m craving spam sushi or just craving a vacation.


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