Holiday-Themed Spam Still Making Rounds, Serving Scams

Symantec researchers identified a large number of spam emails that still rely on New Year celebrations to spread bogus offers and other scams.

Instead of registering new domains they could use for their malicious campaigns, cybercriminals are relying on compromised websites to which they add a simple PHP script that redirects visitors to rogue pharmacy sites.

The emails that bear the ill-intended links don’t offer many explanations on what may be hiding behind them, but the “new-year-link.php” string contained in the URL leads recipients to believe that a holiday offer may be presented to them once they click.

A number of 10,000 unique domain names were compromised with the new year link, but Christmas is also not neglected by the crooks.

A lot of fake Christmas 2011 offers are still popping up in inboxes, pushing products such as counterfeit watches or drugs at amazing discount prices.

Experts believe that these new year scams are being launched in hopes that Internet users who celebrated the Chinese New Year on January 23 are likely to take the bait.

In the upcoming period, there are a lot of other important events that may trigger the fraudsters’ imagination. The UEFA Euro 2012 football tournament and the Summer Olympics in London are just some of the topics that may be utilized more intensely in the future malevolent emails.

In fact, 419 scams targeting Olympics participants and fans have already begun making rounds. Attachments named “London 2012 Olympic Games.doc”, “LONDON 2012 OLYMPIC GAMES RAFFLE PROGRAM.doc” and “LONDON OLYMPICS LOTTERY WINNER!.doc” were already seen in 419 scams or advance fee fraud notifications.

Users are advised to ignore these messages and refer from clicking on links or opening attachments that come in suspicious looking emails. Also, security applications must be kept updated in order to make sure that online threats can’t cause any damage.

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