Beware Valentine's Day malware, spam

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Researchers have warned endpoint users to be on the lookout for more than just Valentine's Day bargains this week.

Attackers are taking advantage of the holiday to send malware in email messages with Valentine’s Day-related subject hooks.

Researchers at PandaLabs, a wing of Panda Software, said the Nurech.A worm is spreading through email with subjects like "Together You and I" and "Til the End of Time Heart of Mine."

The attachment is always an executable file, according to PandaLabs.

Other malware, such as Nuwar.D, has been seen in email messages with subjects such as "5 reasons I love you" or "A kiss for you," according to the Glendale, Calif. firm.

Luis Corrons, PandaLabs technical director, said in a news release that email users should follow general safety procedures.

"As Valentine’s Day approaches, this year we are already seeing a proliferation of computer threats and spam using this lure," he said. "As a general rule, don’t open any suspicious email, regardless of what it says it contains. Instead of going on instincts, let a security solution decide whether it’s safe to open it or not."

Corrons also warned that holiday shopping could lead to an increased risk in bank details being lost to cybercriminals.

Ron O’Brien, senior security analyst at Sophos, told SCMagazine.com today that holiday-based malware is not surprising.

"As they say in the (malware) business, ‘it’s just another holiday that we can take advantage of,’" he said. "Inevitably when there’s a calendar holiday, there’s always a way for social engineering to come into play."

Spammers are also using techniques such as image spam to spread Valentine’s Day malware, according to Sophos.

However, a poll recently conducted by the company revealed that five percent of PC users now admit buying goods through spam, a four-percent drop from a year ago.

Click here to email ONline Editor Frank Washkuch Jr.

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