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BizReport : Email Marketing : October 15, 2009

Internet Marketing 101: What to look for in a malware attack

Are you and your customers really safe from the botnets delivering malware, from phishing attacks and other fraudsters? The fact is even with all of the preparation and protection in the world, a website can be hacked, an emailing list or browser hijacked. The key is to know as quickly as possible that something nefarious has been done and to correct it.

by Kristina Knight

Although the genie is out of the bottle where spam, malware and botnets are concerned, there are ways to protect your safety, reputation and revenue online. Part of that process is understanding what these attacks can look like.

In recent weeks the Cutwail/Pandex botnet has flourished sending out a Trojan called Bredolab. This arrived in email as an attachment and refers to postal tracking, making it hard for the consumer to tell it's actually malware. Once the attachment is opened, the sender has complete control of the target computer and tries to disable the computer's security so that even more malicious content can be delivered.

Here is an image of what a Malware attack may look like:


And you can view an actual browser hijacking, from Anchor Intelligence, by clicking here.

"By nature, once this Trojan is on a system, it is unlikely to be detected and will allow the controller to do whatever they wish with the infected machine, such as installing other malware and spyware," said MessageLabs Intelligence Senior Analyst, Paul Wood, Symantec Hosted Services.

According to MessageLabs spam related to the Bredolab Trojan has increased and reached its highest-to-date percentage at 3.5% of all spam; Bredolab also accounts for nearly 6% of all malware that is intercepted daily. MessageLabs estimates that 3.6 billion Bredolab emails are send worldwide each day.

In June MessageLabs released number showing the spam rate at more than 90%, meaning that legitimate email marketers must work harder to ensure their messages are 1) delivered 2) delivered to email inboxes rather than junk folders and 3) trusted enough that the consumer will open them.

For marketers, one of the keys is to protect sender reputation. Ensure that you're following email marketing best practices and, in addition, use some type of authentication software so that the messages sent to a list are identified. That way the message is more likely to be delivered to the inbox and with the authentication notation, consumers are more likely to open the message to read about the offer.

Next, keep security software up to date and run checks regularly. Recently the site is believed to have been attacked by malware - the 'virus' took over computers logged in to commit click fraud. But because the site could quickly alert consumers to the attack the fall-out was minimal. Your small business may not have the resources of, but you can still ensure that consumers visiting and buying from your sites are as safe as possible.

Tags: botnets, browser hijacking, click fraud, email, email marketing, email messages, MessageLabs, spam

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