Interestingly, social networking tops the no-value category.
Secure Computing Corp noted a huge increase in image spam, while Message Labs add that recent virus outbreak (Warezov) has added to the botnet ring, exacerbating the problem. There isn’t a heck of a lot you can do about this, other than keep your virus-scanner dats up to date – even switching to Linux or OS X isn’t going to stop it (that is, unless everyone on the planet switched at once).
If that wasn’t enough, the holiday season is rolling around, so you get to add a barrage of unstoppable junk mail to your list of fancies.
The only bright light in the bunch, instant messaging. Yes, the threats remain, but are still relying on social engineering techniques. Meaning…
You can’t stop the spam, unless you shut down the network. You can’t stop the junk mail, unless you shut down the postal service. But you can stop the IM attacks – you just have to quit being stupid!
…although I suspect even that will be tough for many
….or something like that, which I can then put my foot in my mouth over when it doesn’t actually happen. By the numbers, instant messaging attacks have barely gotten started.
I have heard this new acronym “SPIM” used in a variety of contexts. First it is spam over instant messaging, then it morphs into spam over cell phones, and now it is the combination of the two. I don’t know if we will ever learn what exactly “SPIM” is, but you can be certain of two things…
Phishing attempts have be lingering around the instant messaging environment for some time. The latest report is from Yahoo, and the exploit is purported to look as though it is coming from a buddy list contact. Upon clicking, the user is redirected to a fake Yahoo page, where Yahoo user information is requested.
A major breakthrough has been made in the war on spam, one that might put the problem to rest for good. Politicians from the US and UK have agreed to cross the pond every year for a spam summit. According Derek Wyatt, head of the All Parliamentary Internet Group, “That will really help to beat things like spam and spim [spam over instant messaging].”
Rumour has it the first forum will address the following major issues:
– Statuatory requirements to set auto-emptying of Outlook junk mail folders upon exit, and
– Allocating substantial funds (in the billions) to develop public awareness campaigns on how to restrict IMs only to those people on a personal buddy list
People across the technology landscape have been correct in the assumption that if people never purchaed products from spammers, there would be no economic incentive to spam. It is a solic theory, and I agree.
In what might be good news for the burgeoning mobile spam phenom (if it indeed exists), it seems the potentially hardest core users of mobile services are rejecting spammers advances.
We are seeing a lot of hype over the issue of instant messaging spam nowadays. Part of this hype could be an actual problem, and part of it could be guilt by association. With all the talk about the Secret Service and Paris Hilton getting hacked via T-Mobile, I wonder if this isn’t already a little overdone – people seem to associate the instant message with mobility, and more and more phones are coming to market with chatting features. Don’t shoot me for reaching.
BetaNews thinks it is less of an issue than is being described, and points out a lot of the security features that service providers have to put a clamp on the “problem” (see BetaNews | The Hype Over Spim).
What’s worse is the potential for association with politics and laws such as CAN-SPAM.