Every day approximately 400 billion messages are sent through email. The sad reality is that spam makes up a majority of the internet email traffic. Luckily, spam filters have been proving very effective – blocking over 99% of junk mail and keeping it out of potential victims’’ inboxes. But just like an insect that becomes stronger and resistant to pesticides over time, cybercriminal become smarter and change their tactics. To learn more about the evolving techniques of criminals and how to fend off these new waves of attacks, keep reading!
The New Era of Spam: Less is More
This is known as “artisanal” spam. Cyber criminals craft emails claiming to be companies and people the recipients know and trust. This includes banks, insurance companies, medical providers, bosses and co-workers, and of course friends and family.
The information used to reach out to these victims is generally accessed through data breaches. For example, a medical corporation’s computer system is hacked and their customer list was stolen. Then a patient who recently visited one of their clinics receives a (fake) bill. They pay it, think it’s from the clinic when in reality it is a scam and their money just went into the pocket of a cyber criminal.
Aside from causing data breaches, cyber criminals also use special software to collect personal data from social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. Always beware of clicking on links you receive through the messaging services on these sites.
How to Protect YourselfHere are the tricks to keep up your sleeve in case you become a potential spam victim.Inspect the sender’s address.
- If there are extra numbers or letters after the address, it’s spam.
- Be suspicious of links, always.
- If you know the sender, contact them to verify that they sent you the e-mail in question.
- Legitimate emails from credit card companies will always have the end-digits of your card. E-mails that list the beginning digits are almost definitely spam.
As technologies change, cyber criminals become smarter and everyone else becomes more vulnerable. Remember to stay proactive, be cautious and look out for one another. If you see a spam thread going around, let others know to beware!