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UK Surfers Drown Under 20 Billion Daily SPAMs

Posted: 30th Nov, 2007 By: MarkJ
IronPort Systems has issued its 2008 Internet Security Trends Report, which reveals that 120 billion SPAM (junk e-mail) messages are sent every day worldwide with 20 billion of that figure being directed towards the UK.

The group claims that a staggering 98% of all e-mail is now SPAM, a figure every e-mail security firm appears to have a different number for, and that social networking sites will become prime sources of personal data for UK spam gangs in 2008:

Spam, virus and malware attacks are costly. The average UK computer user spends 5-10 minutes dealing with spam every day. Clean up cost are estimated at £250 per computer. An estimated 60 million people have had data about themselves exposed over the past 13 months, and there has been an estimated 20 Billion dollars spent in clean-up costs and lost productivity worldwide. In addition, 48 percent of organisations do not have a policy for notifying customers when their private data may be at risk.

Typically IronPort has a few suggestions for how people can stay safe this season:

1) Don't Open

Whenever possible, do not open spam messages. Frequently spam messages include software that enables the spammer to determine how many, or which, email addresses have received and opened the message. A suspicious email is almost always spam.

2) Don't Respond

The best way to deal with email messages from unknown or suspicious addresses is to delete them, or allow your spam filter to quarantine them. If you respond to a spam message, even asking to be removed from their list, you will have confirmed to the sender that they have indeed reached a valid email address and your inbox may become the target of even more spam. If you are unsure whether a request for personal information from a company is legitimate, contact the company directly or type the website URL directly into your browser.

3) Don't Click

If you click on a link (even an "unsubscribe" link) offered in a spam message, you may infect your computer with spyware or a virus. Instead, delete the email immediately. If a message that appears to be from your bank, credit card company, eBay, Paypal, or others requests that you to click through to validate account details—don't. They already have your account details, so validation or confirmation should not be necessary. Simply delete the message. If you have questions about an email from a familiar organisation, contact them by phone.

4) Don't Buy

Spam exists because it's profitable. It costs almost nothing for a spammer to send a million messages. If even one in that million people buy something, they're making money. Take the profit out of spam. Never purchase anything from spammers. Tell your friends and family to do the same—no matter how good the offer looks.

5) Don't Use Your Primary Email Address

Using your primary email address anywhere on the Web puts it at greater risk of being picked up by spammers. Use a secondary or temporary account for online transactions.

6) Don't Believe Everything You Read

Forwarded warning emails and chain letters are more prevalent during the holiday season. Spammers will harvest good email addresses from these forwarded messages. After a few generations, many of these letters contain hundreds of good email addresses. Consequently, people who were worried about the "missing girl" or the "desperate refugee" find themselves not only passing on a hoax, but also the recipients of more spam.

7) Do Use a Temporary or One-Time Use Credit Card

When in doubt; use a temporary or a one-time use credit card. Most major banks can provide these types of cards to help avoid abuse.

8) Do Make Sure Your ISP or Company Has Spam, Virus and Spyware Protection

Spam emails are very often connected with viruses, so it's critical to have both anti-spam and anti-virus protection. Spam messages often include links to websites with spyware or malware. Check with your ISP or IT department to make sure you have adequate security against these kinds of threats. Having spam, virus and Web-based malware protection at the gateway can make a significant difference.

9) Do Use Your Common Sense

If it looks like spam, it probably is. Delete it.

ISPreview also has a 'Tips For Avoiding SPAM' article, which might come in handy.
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