Help Net Security reports that Russia has overtaken the USA as the king of malware distribution via spam according to research undertaken by Kaspersky Labs.
With spam messages making up to 80% of all email traffic, we are all at risk from everything from phishing scams (where PayPal details seem to be the most coveted) to direct malware infection via cleverly crafted links in emails, often to rogue sites looking like real internet properties.
So, what can we do to stay safe online?
We often repeat it, while having a quiet push for our own products, but while an excellent anti-spam solution is essential, as are great antivirus and anti-spyware solutions, the single thing we would put at the top of any list of things you MUST have to combat malware is this:
Most phishing attacks are fully stoppable, simply by making sure that a link in your email, especially when purporting to be from a company you use, is actually going where it says it is. Most scammers don’t have domains that are that similar to the legitimate site (as they tend to get caught more quickly when that is the case), and a simple check to see where you are being sent would stop you from trusting the site immediately.
A case in point is PayPal, the ubiquitous online payments processor.
PayPal domains, at least the public facing ones, will always be www.paypal.com, or www.paypal.co.uk (or your local top level domain equivalent); or the business versions of those sites: www.paypal-business.co.uk (the US variant will forward you to merchant.paypal.com), there are no other variants you, as a user, should be trusting; and this is where the scammers are easy to spot. Often, they will be using a completely different domain, such as (a made up example) www.somedomain.com/PayPal/paypal.html, and this alone should be enough to stop you putting your sensitive details into any awaiting form.
Let us know your experiences in the comments section.