Dangers lurking in innocent looking emails


25th April 2016

IT Update

ONE of the areas where online security is becoming increasingly threatened is in the use of sophisticated spam emails that can end up costing companies thousands of pounds.

Over the past couple of years, it has become more and more difficult to distinguish what is real and what is dangerous – with scams mimicking anything from banks to internet services to try to get the recipient to unwittingly reveal important data, details or download viruses or trojans.

Chris Walker, who runs C37, an IT support company, said: “We’re all wise now to the foreign businessman who wants to share his fortune, but spam has moved on from there and can now pose a real threat.”

“Most of it is easily recognisable as spam but the way it works is to catch the recipient when they are not fully focused.

So if your not waiting for a parcel from a large delivery company, and you get an email inviting you to track your package, you know it’s spam. But what if you are waiting?

It’s so easy to click on that link that turns out to be a serious breach of your email security.”

Fortunately, Cloud hosted services are available that can recognise spam and prevent it reaching your Inbox, providing a very secure barrier to a company’s IT system.

Chris Walker added: “We provide anti-spam services but often find that customers sometimes don’t want to pay that little bit extra – until they find something has gone wrong.

We have a client who didn’t want spam and anti-virus protection. They received a spam email containing a Microsoft Word document claiming to be an invoice. Upon opening the email attachment a macro within the Word document ran, downloading a trojan. Unfortunately this was able to transfer tens of thousands of pounds from their online bank account into a bank account in a foreign country. The clients bank took the view that the firms lapse in security was to blame and so would not refund the lost money, the Police took the view it would be impossible to assist any recovery.”

“It isn’t expensive when you consider the consequences – such as finding all your data has been encrypted, or your client database has been hacked. You have to look at it as a door which is locked keeping your business safe. You wouldn’t have a front door without a lock on it, and not having protection on your computer system is equally risky.”

Given the nature of spam email attacks, all computers and devices are at risk. While Apple Mac products are usually seen as being less targeted by viruses and trojans than other PCs, a spam attack cannot be safeguarded against when it depends on an unsuspecting user clicking a link or opening a document that looks safe but isn’t.

Email anti-spam solutions are being developed all the time, keeping pace with what the criminals are doing. They not only look for spam they also scan the content for viruses and documents containing macros. These solutions provide a what is becoming the most important layer of protection and can be run alongside more traditional anti-virus and network threat protection software very effectivelya. Mistakes are so easily made whilst opening emails, but can be incredibly hard to put right.”

Find out more by calling C37 on 01604 211433 or 07976 767802 - www.c37.co.uk