The month of July stood out this year as having some of the most malicious Viruses in quite some time. Google, in association with virus and spam filtration program Postini reported that Virus Spam peaked on July 24th with nearly 10 million suspicious emails. Google, which has long kept a watchful eye on the online world, has taken a special interest in the prevention of Spam and Virus attacks for its proprietary email server, Gmail. Google’s Postini is actively tracking all potential attacks and any business that uses either Gmail or the Postini spam filter will benefit from their vigilance.

Google reports that the two largest threats in July came in the form of the CNN and UPS viruses. The UPS virus acted as a front for an attack. The email would contain a faux tracking link that when clicked on would bring you to a malicious download location. The CNN Virus had a similar ploy, replicating the look of a legitimate CNN newsletter. Within the newsletter were a number of actual CNN news articles but mixed in were links to malicious download locations.

When it comes to spam and virus protection common sense is the best defense. In this day and age most people know better than to click on attachments from unrecognized locations but the same applies to links within email. Most modern browsers offer the option to read a url link within an email before clicking on it. If the link looks suspicious then simply choose not to click on it. Links that contain an .exe should never be followed. Lastly be suspicious if you receive an email from a source you didn’t sign up for. All unrequested emails are now required to include a physical address and an option to remove you from the mailing list. If an email does not contain these things then it is likely from a suspicious source. If you use email intelligently then you should never fall victim to an email virus attack.

– Richard Keene
IT Computer Support of New York
Design and Optimization Department