IRS Stimulus Package and Valentine’s Day Messages Pose Threat to E-mail Users

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Greer, S.C. — Feb. 12
Mailprotector, a provider of e-mail security services, issued safety recommendations to all e-mail users based on a report from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team about two new types of e-mail messages posing a threat to e-mail users.

The first type of malicious e-mail is a phishing scam that appears to be sent from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. The bogus e-mail invites users who follow an embedded link to receive stimulus package payments. The unsuspecting users are asked to provide personal information either via a Web site or an attached document, and are promised a stimulus package check from the IRS.

The second bogus e-mail contains malicious code within spam e-mail messages related to Valentine’s Day. The messages include a link to a Web site that is filled with hearts and instructions to users to select one image. Once an image has been selected the user will be prompted to download an executable file that can destroy computer systems.

“Infiltration of a corporate e-mail network can have devastating effects,” said David Setzer, CEO of Mailprotector. “Unfortunately, the reality of the world today is that some people find profit by doing harm to those who are unsuspecting. Tricking people into giving up personal information or having them install software that can collect valuable customer data from companies can have far-reaching and long-lasting effects for all involved. It is crucial in today’s economy to proactively guard against all forms of e-mail crime.”

Setzer and other computer experts note that a hidden byproduct of the flailing economy is the increase in cyber crime. According to reports, some IT professionals who were previously gainfully employed are now turning their considerable technical talents and using them to steal and exploit sensitive data.

To best protect your organization from being affected by this malware, Setzer offers the following advice:

  • Utilize the service of an e-mail security provider to scan and filter all e-mail messages before they reach end-users:
  • Do not open e-mail from unknown people or companies.
  • Do not follow links included in e-mails. If you must visit a link in a message open a new web browser and type it in manually.
  • Use caution when visiting new or unfamiliar Web sites, especially if asked to accept a download request.

The IT analyst firm, Radicati Group, forecasts the e-mail security market to grow from $3.9 billion in 2008 to more than $6.2 billion in 2012.

Mailprotector is designed to protect against spam, viruses, vulnerabilities, attacks and availability challenges.

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