A recent Symantec blog reports that there is a slight shift in email malware tactics. The shift is from email attachments that an unsuspecting individual might download, to links in an email with a believable subject line. The themes may sound legitimate but the information or links within are far from genuine. As the graph here shows the spike is noticeably high in just one month and is continuing to climb.
“Symantec believes that the Cutwail botnet (Trojan.Pandex) is behind some of the recent spam messages, along with other botnets, and that attackers have resorted to using links in a bid to avoid email security products that scan for malicious attachments.” “The common thread in each email is that they contain links. These links use hijacked domains and have a URL path that leads to a PHP landing page. If the user clicks on the links, they are led to a malicious file.”
The best way to protect from being hijacked by spammers, is to not download or click on a link in haste especially when the email is from a source you are not expecting to receive anything from. Also, update patches and your email software. An uninformed user usually ignores any alerts related to updating software or applying patches. Therein lies the biggest loophole for attackers. Link to Symantec blog.