From: Yahoo! Tech —

A new study of spam ‘demographics’ reveals that the amount of personalized spam is increasing alarmingly.

Moreover, these new spam and phishing messages are targeted to specific recipients, according to their interests and previous buying habits.

It’s the difference between snail mail addressed to ‘Occupant’ and unsolicited pitches that come addressed you — because somebody you did business with sold a mailing list with your name on it to a third party.

As Yahoo! tech reports, “A new study by Cisco Systems Inc. found an alarming increase in the amount of personalized spam, which online identity thieves create using stolen lists of e-mail addresses or other poached data about their victims, such as where they went to school or which bank they use.”

What’s more disturbing,spear phishing messages are less likely to be flagged as spam by spam filters.

“They’re sent in smaller chunks, and often come from accounts the criminals have set up at reputable Web-based e-mail services. Some of the messages are expertly crafted, linking to beautifully designed Web sites that are bogus or immediately install malicious programs.”

Cisco also reports that spam is increasing, overall, estimating that almost 2 billion (yes, ‘billion’!)spam e-mails are dumped onto the Net daily. Specifically, personally-targeted span has trippled over the past year.

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