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article imageSpammers pounce on Ashley Madison hack & Windows 10

By Holly L. Walters     Aug 13, 2015 in Internet
Spam and phishing attempts continue to get more sophisticated, and even savvy Internet users are sometimes confused by an ultra-realistic looking email or webpage.
Although most people are well-aware that emails with ridiculous subject lines such as “you’ve won the African lottery” are a scam, it can become much more difficult to weed out messages that appear to come directly from a reputable source.
This is the primary reason that con artists who have a good understanding of current technology are always waiting for the next great excuse to take advantage of people.
For example, the recent Windows 10 upgrade has made it easy for some spammers to extract personal information from Windows users. Additionally, the Ashley Madison hack has opened up an opportunity to exploit everyone from the curious to those who are terrified that their usage of the cheating site will be revealed to the world.
According to Auburn University, there are an estimated 156 million phishing emails sent out on a daily basis. Standard email filters fail to capture at least 10 percent of these, which leads to an average of 80,000 people every day falling for one of these scams. In other words, 29.2 million Internet users will become the victim of a phishing scam this year.
The global annual impact of this particular form of cyber theft is approximately $5 billion. To protect yourself, it is vital to stay up to date on the latest technology news. Additionally, you can use an advanced spam filtering software such as EveryCloud, MailWasher and MailCleaner to boost your protection level against email threats and spam to what the companies claim is 99.9 percent.
Microsoft is currently offering free upgrades to Windows 10, and users who are interested in participating in this freebie have been submitting their email address via an online form. The form that pops up in the update center of each person’s current version of Windows is legitimate, but what has been happening next to several people is not; spammers are actually sending out emails that claim to be from Microsoft.
When someone downloads and executes the so-called Windows 10 upgrade file, they become the victim of a CTB-Locker ransomware scam, according to Threat Post. This particular type of online scam encrypts documents on the user’s computers.
According to the information that is provided to each afflicted individual, it is only possible to decrypt their files by paying a pre-set amount of Bitcoins. Not only does this cost a lot of money but it is also common for the files to remain encrypted after the payment has been made.
Another recent example of insidious spam launched shortly after the Ashley Madison hack was publicly announced. Whether someone is merely curious about whom the site’s users are or if they have a reason to believe that their own personal data has been exposed, it is not difficult to get people to click on a link that claims to contain all of the hacked information. In fact, even some journalists have clicked on these links and then reported that they are merely a phishing attempt, reports BBC News.
Some of the links send people to pages that demand money in exchange for fixing non-existent computer problems. There have also been a few other examples that make it very difficult to close spam related pop-ups. The one thing that all of these scam attempts have in common is the fact that none of them actually lead to a list of names or other data that was gathered during the Ashley Madison hack.
It is always best to be cautious when it comes to emails or online links that appear to be suspicious. After all, spammers look for trends such as operating system upgrades and major site hacks to fool unsuspecting people into losing money. By remaining aware of current events, you can keep your personal data safe.
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