Monday, September 21, 2009

SPAM - Unfortunately it is making a comeback

It has been a while since I talked about spam. The last time I noted that the amount was dropping and most of my email were legit. Well that has changed in the last two months. I have noticed that the volume of spam is now rising and most of my email is now spam. Yahoo has excellent filters, but, I have been getting at least one message a week getting through so the spammers are now figuring out how to get past the filters. Google is still good as I don't remember getting anything that was spam in my legit inbox, but, I notice there are a lot more spam messages. The last provider is Bell and I am getting about 1 or 2 emails a month that get through, but, I flag them as spam so that Bell can update their filters.

This will be a continuing battle between ISPs and the spammers. The thing is that the ISPs can only react most of the time after the fact so there is always a small window of opportunity for spammers to hit your inbox. You can help by using the email filters that your ISP provides and when one does get through flag it so that they can update the filters. When you do get a message don't click on the 'unsubscribe' button if it is provided or don't reply to their 'unsubscribe' email address if provided. All you do is confirm that your account is live and we can almost guarantee that you will actually receive more spam rather than less.

I may be paranoid, but, keep your anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall up-to-date. These spammers may also try to embed scripts or auto-launch programs that will install software on your machine and take it over and add it to their bot network.

You can look at ClamAV, Malwarebytes anti-malware as a starting point for your securing your systems. Secunia also has a good package called PSI that will scan your system to see what is out-of-date, vulnerable, etc and allow you to keep your system-up-to-date. I use these on my home PC when I start up the dual-boot system to run Vista and not Linux.

Update (2009/09/22):
I am now running AVG on my Vista partition.  It seems to do a bit better on the detection of malware and does not impact the performance of the machine in any noticeable way.  I will be still keeping Clam on the Linux portion as I can then use that to scan my external HDD or USB sticks while staying in Linux.