The February, 2009, monthly spam report from security giant McAfee spotlights several new and re-emerging trends.


One new and insidious scam, designed to get you to download a trojan bug from a rogue Web site, involves an email notice asking you to confirm that you purchased a paperless airline ticket. McAfee warns:

This scam’s delivery method is a clever bit of social engineering that relies on the fear of having one’s identity stolen. By raising the possibility of an unauthorized credit card payment, victims might click on the attachment without first thinking through the consequences, which include opening the door to identity thieves. The .zip file contains an executable that infects the machine with the ZBot Trojan.

The old ‘cheap software’ scam is coming back around for another swing at us. The spammer’s focus shifts from one popular, high-profile and high-priced software title to another from season to season. Over the past few weeks, Adobe Photoshop has been the lure of choice for baddies trying to sell you bogus or bootlegged software.

Where Chinese URLs figured predominantly, through the middle of last year, as click-back destinations in ‘adult’ oriented spams, they suddenly dropped off in December of last year. McAfee speculates that the Chinese government clamped down on the baddies involved. And, indeed, there was a major crackdown last fall by Chinese authorities on Web sites that they said promoted ‘pornography and vulgarity’, resulting in the closing of more than a thousand offending sites. Alas, spams for adult items — predominantly personal enhancement products — Were once again linking back in droves to Chinese URLs by late last month.

And… Perhaps predictably, an increasing number of spam scams — some very sophisticated — are leveraging public interest in new U.S. President Barack Obama and his policies to get unwitting recipients to click on links that will download trojans or lead to attempts to steal personal information.

For all the details, read the McAfee February 2009 Sapm Report online. Note: It’s in Adobe Acrobat formay. You can get the Acrobat reader free at its official download site.

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