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Massive malware infection sends SPAM skyrocketing

spamDid you know that malicious software isn’t just created to infect personal computers? In fact, a large portion of all malware is designed to attack servers, the computers that control networks around the world (including the internet). Don’t relax, however, as this still has a big impact on your computing.

The reason that servers make such a good target for cyber criminals is because they stay online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Therefore if a criminal wants to send millions of SPAM emails, it’s far better to use a computer that’s always on (and is very powerful) than a personal computer.

One such criminal (or team of criminals) has recently been discovered using malware to seize control of over 25,000 servers. To put that in perspective, this means the criminals can send over 35 million messages per day using this network – and it’s growing.

The same group is also using the infected servers to spread malware – servers are like a two-for-one deal for cyber criminals. Typically, this will involve infecting a server that powers a website, which results in thousands of websites where web users could be infected.

Finally, those 25,000 servers have also been re-programmed to serve advertisements to Mac and iPhone users, resulting in direct profits for the criminals through illegitimate marketing channels.

As a home user there’s nothing you can do to cure these computers, because they are someone else’s computers that have a problem. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t affect you. That’s why it’s important to know actions you can take to reduce the chance of a malicious encounter.

The first is to never open SPAM messages – even if you’re just curious what they’re trying to sell you. If everyone stopped purchasing things from SPAM, the emails would stop as the criminals looked for more profitable ways to make their money.

The same is true for the advertisements – just don’t click them, and the criminals will get less money.

To prevent malware, ensure that your virus protection is as up-to-date as possible and run regular scans on your machine (or set your anti-virus software to do it automatically). If you don’t have an anti-virus, why not try the 30-day free trial of Norman’s Internet Security Suite?

These simple steps will reduce the profits for cyber criminals, and therefore reduce the incentive these people to write malware.

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Learn how to minimize the risk of malware infection and schedule automatic scans

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