Symantec notices an increase in phishing attacks and scams this Valentine season

Infotech Lead Asia: As online transactions increase, so do online frauds, cons and ID thefts. Symantec has observed an increase in phishing attacks to steal personal information. While some online frauds could steal your returns, others could even cost your life savings.

Valentine’s day shopping is one of the major big reasons or online shopping at this time of the year. While online shoppers will be seen expressing their love this week, both online retailers and spammers continue to take steps to attract and convert shoppers. This year, Symantec has observed that spammers and scamsters are trying to lure Valentine’s day online shoppers with unbelievable discounts on jewelry, dining opportunities and expensive gifts.

The top word combinations used in spam messages are likely to include ‘Find-Your-Valentine’, ‘eCards-for-Valentine’, and ‘Valentine’s-Day-Flowers’. The e-card spam message comes with a malicious attachment called If this attachment is opened, malware is downloaded on to the user’s computer. Symantec detects the attachment as ‘Backdoor.Trojan’ which poses a security risk by enabling a remote attacker to have access to or send commands to a compromised computer.

As the fiscal year in India draws to an end, people are rushing to pay taxes before the deadline. Fraudsters see this as an opportunity to send phishing emails claiming to be of tax refunds. Such E mails are sent to users in an attempt to entice citizens to enter their credentials on a bogus website. New attacks have been observed in which the phishing website states that taxes can be paid online. Phishing websites mimick the legitimate one in an attempt to steal customers’ sensitive information. An important point of differentiation is that the phishing page is not SSL encrypted but the legitimate page is.

Abhijit Limaye, director, development, security response, Symantec, says, “The sheer volume of public involvement in topical events makes them rewarding opportunities for cyber criminals. Spammers find new ways to get unsuspecting users to download malicious content, buy fake products, open attachments and fall for event driven scams. We advise users to be cautious when handling unsolicited discount offers or suspicious emails or URLs that seek personal information.”

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