Spooks, ghouls and creepy things are set to ascend into the world of the living as Halloween is celebrated the world over. Never mind that the original meaning of the celebration was intended to honour the Christian faithful who had left this world of dense matter, it’s much more fun to dress up and pretend to be an incarnation of evil, while bagging some sticky, sickly sweets at the same time.
We may be some distance from being able to send virtual representations of children’s Halloween characters whizzing around global networks, but hackers, spammers and various other cyber misfits have hooked into the opportunity that the ghostly celebration offers with all the certainty of the grim reaper scything his bloodied sickle through the air.
Halloween spam attack – emails, videos, Facebook
In fact, this year’s Halloween cyber villainy offering is focusing on spam attacks. Watch out for emails, Facebook postings, Youtube videos and other messages where you’re offered a whole heap of free Halloween candy or some ‘great’ offers like £1,000, €1,000 or $1,000 vouchers for that store that sells all the things you’d like to buy but which never made it on to your ‘to die for’ list.
And of course that’s the hook; beauty products, electronic goods and other ‘compelling’ offers all for free. And all you’ve got to do is simply answer a few simple questions to qualify for the offer. At some point during the ‘survey’ you’ll have to submit your email address and possibly phone number.
Do that and you can say hello to spam hell, because you’ll be incessantly inundated with a never ending deluge of offers from gold-plated zimmer frames to bicycle white wall tyres; in short everything you’d never want, ever. And if you’ve entered your mobile number you just might want to consider changing it. Seriously. It can get that bad.
It’s a yearly thing
This annual Halloween spam attempt at cyber-pillaging is nothing new. In fact, like the spooky festival itself, it’s something of an expected event.
In 2011, spammers launched a mega wave of skanky Halloween spam emails to peddle pirated software. A few years earlier the Halloween attacks focused on directing people to ‘fake’ websites in order turn a profit.
Perhaps one of the most creative Halloween hackers attacks was back in 2006 when emails directed people to a website that featured a dancing skeleton game. It was fun and successfully distracting because as users chuckled at the pirouetting bones a back door was being installed in the computer. Hmmm.
Identity theft protection for Halloween
To protect yourself against fiendish phishing attacks and malevolent malware make sure you’ve got an up-to-date Internet protection, antivirus technology, a robust firewall and spam filter.
Also ensure you’re installing all the available fixes and security patches for your operating system. And if you click on a link that take you through to a website where warning signs are flashing get out of there before you end up in malware purgatory. Finally, if you receive amusing, tempting, strange Halloween themed emails with attachments that urge you to click on the attachment, whatever you do, don’t. You may just be opening the door to a virtual cyber hell.
Posted by Steve Bell