I have a surefire way to gauge the state of the economy: Count how many holiday cards I receive in my office mailbox.
Two years ago, plenty. Last year, a whole lot. This year, not so much.
Most of the cards I receive here at the offices of Haymarket Media in New York come from PR agencies with whom I deal on pretty much a daily basis. This year, a majority are opting to send their warm wishes (A.K.A. - keep writing stories about our clients) to my inbox.
It's gotta be the economy. Why shell out 42 cents (and the cost of paper) to send a letter when you can do it for free over the internet?
But with all this Christmas goodwill comes a real risk: Some of these e-greeting cards are actually fakes, containing an embedded trojan or a link to a malicious site.
Now, that's not to say the rogue cards are coming from my PR contacts (although I was kind of - shall we say? - short with a few of them over the course of the year).
But there are lots of others out there looking to take advantage of our instinct to open a card. This is a threat worth paying attention to. And, as email security firm Commtouch will tell you
, these socially engineered cards are becoming more and more real looking.
Kind of makes me yearn for the good 'ole days of greeting cards I could touch. But then, there's that whole recycling thing to worry about.