Valentine's Day – When your computer is as vulnerable as your heart

14 Feb 2011
Business News

Valentine’s day is the day when most of us pluck up the courage to tell the people we care about how much they mean to us. Traditionally this means rushing out at the last minute for a nice bunch of over-priced flowers, a box of soft-centred chocolates and a card. Many retailers have seized the opportunity to offer us these products more easily and cheaply online, creating a massive playground for spammers and cybercriminals. Kaspersky Lab highlights the risks and provides tips on how to make Valentine’s Day safe.

The risks range from annoying to highly dangerous. As inboxes are filled with emails offering us champagne and chocolates, jewellery and romantic breaks for two, it can be difficult to distinguish the ones selling fake goods or fraudulent offers. Some emails with tempting offers are even more threatening, redirecting you to a website where your personal details can be stolen – known as ‘phishing’.

Another category of risk and often the most harmful is the inclusion of malicious attachments in electronic greeting cards. Valentine’s Day e-cards may lack the romance of a handcrafted original, but at least they will arrive on time, and who could resist opening such a card?

Facebook, Twitter or any other social networking platform user should be cautious of malicious Valentine’s Day apps, wall posts or private messages inviting to click a link – even if it comes from a friend. In case of doubt it’s better to ask the sender if the link has been sent intentionally. Better play safe than clicking on link that might link to a malicious website.

“One of the largest spam-points of the year is traditionally the time around Valentine's Day, because cyber criminals do not miss the chance to promote traditional gifts like flowers, chocolates or jewelry at seemingly unbeatable prices,” says Christian Funk, virus analyst with Kaspersky Lab. “We recommend all users to keep their antivirus solution up-to-date, be cautious if they get email from an unknown sender, and make sure not to open any attachments – especially at the time around Valentine's Day”

Kaspersky Lab advises people to use common sense – perhaps not always the first priority on Valentine’s Day – and make sure they are protected by following the usual simple rules:
  • Don’t reply to spam emails, you will only confirm your email address as ‘live’ and end up receiving more.
  • If an offer seems too good to be true – it probably is!
  • Keep your antivirus solution up-to-date – it will identify and block emails with suspicious attachments.
  • Be cautious if you get an email from an unknown sender.
  • Do not open any attachments.
  • Do not click on any web links, type the URL into your computer yourself if you wish to visit that page or use a bookmark
  • Do not enter any personal information or anything that people can use to steal your identity or access your bank account.