SPAM costs businesses both time and money but what is the more serious threat of SPAM?
“Beware the Botnet.”
Some spam carries attachments that if opened can infect your computer with viruses or spyware. Most common distribution comes via Botnets. These software robots send spam emails with viruses attached. Remotely controlled by the originator, these bots are like a small army sent to infect your computer.
Botnets can use your computer as part of a denial-of-service attack. A denial-of-service attack occurs when a malicious originator sends an army of bots to sabotage a specific server. Coded to attack the same server again and again, the overwhelming volume of bot requests can block legitimate users and can potentially cause a server to shut down completely.
“You’ve been hacked.”
So, you’ve given access to your computer to a Botnet, not intentionally of course, and the bots have shut down your system. Can it get worse? If your bot has installed a Trojan horse opening backdoor access to cyber criminals you can bet their next plan of attack will include using weaknesses in your security settings to exploit your protected data.
By taking advantage of security vulnerabilities, you could lose control of your computer and the originator is now forcing your computer to send critical, sensitive data to an unknown website or could be sending spam to any list of email addresses.
“Your computer is infected – click for computer check”
Malware is most commonly seen as that dreaded popup warning you that your computer, tablet or phone is infected and you need to scan immediately. This notice can look very real so beware! If you proceed, you are opening your system to opportunities to reformat hard drives, delete files, steal sensitive data, and take control of your software.
By proceeding you are potentially being redirected to an illegitimate website that looks real. Your attacker is Pharming and you got roped in! These sites will ask for your personal information, account info, usernames and passwords and will use it to gain access to your bank account, credit cards and even go shopping on your dime.
“Data breaches totaled 1,540 worldwide in 2014 – up 46% from 2013 – and led to the compromise of more than one billion data records. Identity theft accounted for 54% of these breaches,” according to NASDAQ.com
Protecting your all your electronic devices, hardware and software is the most important step any business should take. You are protecting your sensitive data for the business as well as personal data for you and your employees.
Steps you should take to protect yourself from SPAM and the attacks that follow:
- Install and maintain anti-virus software.
- Install a firewall, and configure it to restrict traffic coming into and leaving your computer.
- Update your software and operating system
- Follow good security practices when it comes to maintaining your contact or email lists.
- Create strong, unique passwords and change them every 90 days.
- Apply email filters to manage unwanted emails.
- Avoid opening email attachments, especially if they are from people you don’t know.