Spam and Graeme’s 3 Golden Rules

It’s been a rubbish week or so. What with World War III looking like it’s about to break out in Korea, Ireland about to go broke, the Portuguese looking nervously over their shoulder and a Royal Wedding plastered all over the news, I am starting to sound like a proper Grumpy Old Man. Oh yes, and there are already Christmas ads invading our TV screens. Try as I might, I can’t quite work up any enthusiasm today, and have been lectured by Mrs S that I am starting to sound like Geoffrey Palmer or Rick Wakeman off the aforementioned TV show. Well, boo to you all with knobs on.

In addition to this, I am deluged with spam. Not the work account, with our nice Sophos appliance stopping all of that, but my home address. I am absolutely drowning in the stuff. I wouldn’t mind if it was the amusingly spelt stuff of old (‘Please sign into your NotWest account’ – hahaha), or the madmen in Nigeria. But no, it’s split into three categories:

1. Rolex
2. ‘Blue Pills’
3. Very friendly Russian ladies

All of it spelt fairly well, but of course none of it opened. And it set me wondering. What sort of complete nincompoop actually opens this stuff? Last week I gave a presentation to one of our beloved partners (Redstone) and showed them some examples of scams we see in the SophosLabs. And it’s all mildly amusing if scary stuff. Mainly because I still can’t believe people fall for some of them. I don’t mean the clever web pages that really REALLY look like Facebook but aren’t. I can excuse those – I bailed on a website the other week as it just didn’t look and feel right. I mean the other sort of scam. Why would someone email you out of the blue a picture of themselves in their birthday suit with an invite to look at some more, if there wasn’t something dodgy going on. WHY CLICK ON IT? But somebody must be, otherwise they wouldn’t keep sending them would they?

I will admit I work in the IA and Security space, so I have a bit of an inside track. So to help you, I give you Graeme’s golden rules that go beyond ‘keep your software patched and your anti-malware up to date’. And with some mild tuning, they also represent a fairly good mantra for life in general I find…

1. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. She’s not going to send you naughty pictures for no reason is she?

2. Don’t open email late on a Friday night. In fact, don’t do anything online (mostly Facebook or eBay) or via SMS after 10pm. No good will come of it.

3. If you don’t know who they are, you don’t know who they are.

And as a freebie, my 4th mantra (and the 11th Commandment of the Intelligence Services): Don’t get caught.

Spam isn’t about to go away. The stats are frightening. And ISPs don’t really appear to want to do anything about it. So, if you are not sat behind the safety of a nice Sophos appliance DON’T CLICK ON IT OR OPEN IT.


About Graeme Stewart, McAfee

I work for McAfee as Director of Public Sector Strategy and Relations, UK&I
This entry was posted in Security, Sophos, Spam, Viruses. Bookmark the permalink.

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