While profit is usually the end goal of these scams first 'success' means infecting your computer with Trojan Horse-style malware that will do one, or both, of the following things:
Secretly add your machine as a botnet 'node' - allowing the spammer to use it to serve his or her future illicit plansSteal personal and financial information, or lock your computer using 'ransomware'
Timely malware: The Silent Threat
A botnet can comprise tens of thousands of computers worldwide but few will show any obvious signs of being infected. The longer the infection goes undetected, the more valuable the computer becomes to the spammer who may then rent it on for further gain.
These botnets are used to distribute millions of spam messages that hold the potential to infect your computer and steal your personal details - email and social media log-ins are prime targets - or even financial details such as online banking log-ins. With the botnet ready and waiting, all the spammers need is a good 'lure'.
So how can you make sure you're spam safe?
Never click on a suspicious-looking link. Irrespective of whether it's from a friend, on a site you visit all the time, or from an unknown source - ask yourself "Why did I receive this?"If the promise or offer of the message seems too good to be true, then it almost certainly is. Be cautious when opening files, if it's that important and it comes from a legitimate source, they'll most likely contact you againMake sure your Internet security software is fully up to date and includes a good email scanner. Also consider using a secure search plugin for your web browser that scans links to check they're legitimate before you click on them
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