SEATTLE _ Security analysts at messaging security firm AppRiver have detected a widespread e-mail spam campaign that is flooding the Internet with tens of millions of messages and shows no signs of slowing at present.
The messages purport to be from Fox News with the subject "Breaking News." Recipients are enticed to click on story links that take them to sites set up to earn the spammers cash as part of pay-per-click promos.
Fortunately the sites do not currently appear to contain any malicious code designed to infect your computing device. Even so, the surge is massive. On Tuesday, AppRiver recorded the highest single day of spam volume seen since March of 2013. CyberTruth asked AppRiver senior security analyst Troy Gill to supply context:
CT: Why are we seeing this particular surge of spam?
Gill: These messages are originating from largely "new" IP sources, so the surge in spam traffic may be due to a newly-assembled bot or a recently re-seeded bot.
CT: What kinds of false headlines should people watch out for?
Gill: Subject headers mostly say, "Breaking News" or something similar while the actual message body contains content about weight loss. That said, if the scammers adapt headlines to include a legitimate breaking news story people may more easily be duped.
Each email contains a link which the recipient is encouraged to click to 'read more'. However, instead of the anticipated news story, links lead to one of several sites as part of a 'pay per click' scam.
CT: So this particular campaign is more of a nuisance?
At present, the campaign appears to be non-malicious and following the link would only result in wasted time. But, senders can change the payload of these messages at the drop of a [black]hat and a potential risk shouldn't be dismissed.
Users shouldn't be too worried about this spam campaign since most, if not all, security vendors have identified and blocked these messages from hitting inboxes.