In advance of the annual Black Friday (now generally extended to a week) and Cyber Monday retail jamborees, which have long since made their way across the pond, a gigantic wave of spam and phishing emails is currently flooding the net.
For instance, United Internet’s subsidiaries Web.de and GMX recently reported a new spam record for the current “Black Week”: the two largest German email providers (whose paying customers can incidentally send faxes via Retarus) have sifted 1.65 billion spam emails from their networks and shifted them to their users’ spam folders. The previous record was 1.5 billion messages in a week.
The latest surge is by no means a coincidence, Web.de and GMX have made clear in a recent press release. Bargain hunters tend to be easy prey for cyber criminals. In their greed many users throw caution to the wind, so they may not take a close enough look at a message or even be tempted to click on a link in a suspicious email in their haste to secure a discount.
In addition, they warn of the prevalence of phishing emails making fake requests purporting to be from shipping services, which aim to get their hands on login credentials to payment services. Also popular are bogus special offers or discounts with which the fraudsters target the login details to online shopping portals. Our Application Management colleagues have confirmed this trend, registering an increased volume of spam and phishing messages to the customers of our Retarus Email Security service (a multi-tenant system, meaning that all customers benefit when our experts configure and fine-tune the filter centrally). A chart displaying the data from our own email accounts gives you a clear impression:
A golden rule all email users should adhere to during this “hot” e-commerce phase is: Keep a cool head and avoid letting supposedly urgent messages put you under pressure. Feel free to also take a look at our Tips for Email Security – which has proven to be a real evergreen.