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Posted on 2009-06-28

Security Post The US-CERT (read United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team) has released an update on the 26th about new phishing scams on the internet.

The marked increase in Spam, Phishing, and Malicious Code attacks related to recent celebrity deaths has sparked growing concerns that many users are still overly susceptible to social engineering and other human attack vectors.

Quoted from US-CERT

"Spam, Phishing, and Malicious Code Related to Recent Celebrity Deaths

added June 26, 2009 at 10:44 am
US-CERT is aware of public reports of an increased number of spam campaigns, phishing attacks, and malicious code targeting the recent deaths of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett. These email messages may attempt to gain user information through phishing attacks or by recording email addresses if the user replies to the message. Additionally, email messages may contain malicious code or may contain a link to a seemingly legitimate website containing malicious code.

US-CERT would like to remind users to remain cautious when receiving unsolicited email. Users are encouraged to take the following measures to protect themselves from these types of attacks:

Do not follow unsolicited web links received in email messages.
Install and maintain up-to-date antivirus software.
Refer to the Recognizing and Avoiding Email Scams (pdf) document for more information on avoiding email scams.
Refer to the Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks document for more information on social engineering attacks. "


On the internet you are never really safe, there is always some exposed attack vector, whether it be a 0 day exploit or a human factor. There are many pieces of software who marketing material would make it seem that they are the be all and end all of the security issue, but seeing as that is impossible, they should be taken with a grain of salt. Security is best provided in layers, the military term for this is "Defense In Depth". A combination of a good server side email filter such as Spamassassin, which uses Bayesian analysis, network tests and blacklists to block or flag emails that are unsafe. Additional client side software, such as the anti-phishing warnings built into most modern email clients, the typical virus scan / anti-malware solutions, and proper training for the weakest link in the security chain, the protein robot (you).

If you have any questions please let us know.

By: Michael Spencer and Allan Jude

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Cuiusvis hominis est errare; nullius nisi insipientis in errore perseverare - Any man can make a mistake; only a fool keeps making the same one.

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