Spam may overtake e-mail in 2003

Friday, 13 December 2002, 10:39 AM EST

This year has seen a marked increase in malicious spam, such as financial scams. The most well-known of these, the Nigerian scam, seems to make particular victims of Americans. A recent report by the U.K. National Criminal Intelligence Service stated that as many as five Americans per day have been seen waiting in London hotel lobbies to meet people connected with the scam. MessageLabs predicted Nigerian scam operations will gross more than $2 billion in 2003.

Another new wrinkle in malicious spam is the FriendGreeting applet, a legitimate-looking online greeting-card service that tricks users into downloading an applet that mass-mails the addresses in a user's Windows address book and invites recipients to go to a greeting-card site, where they're prompted to download the same applet. MessageLabs has intercepted 70,000 copies of that e-mail.

The company predicts that spam next year will not only scour address books for e-mail addresses but will also look through the user's Internet Explorer cache, as viruses now do.

[ Read more ]

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