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Hosting Spam from Barack Obama

Consider these statistics from the recent United States presidential elections:

According to CNN, between 126.5 million and 128.5 million Americans cast ballots this year as reported by the electorate study center. This represented a new record number of voters, breaking the previous record of 122.2 million set in 2004.

As a result of the unprecedented voter turnout, a technical support hotline for polling problems had received 5,000 complaint calls as of 10:30 a.m. EST on Tuesday, the U.S. Election Day.

Traffic to news websites soared by 27 per cent on U.S. election day compared with the previous week.

Statistics released by Nielson Online showed that almost 42.4 million American web users visited a news site on election day, up from nearly 33.5 million the previous week.

Page views increased by by 103 percent reaching 868.3 million.

Nielsen Online made the following statement regarding the popularity of the election, ''In the finale of the first truly digital presidential campaign, with a record turnout of more than 136 million Americans casting votes, voters flocked online to follow news and election results and to play with electoral college math.''

Even those in other countries
have been effected by the media attention, recent figures from comScore showed that U.K. traffic to political websites increased by 27 per cent during September, due to growing interest in the U.S. election.

And so it is no wonder that almost as quickly as the election results were revealed, spam emails began appearing in a vast array of inboxes that touted Obama's victory. The problem with these particular emails are that they contain malicious intent and are sent by cyber criminals who desire to hijack your computer, steal your passwords, and generally wreak havoc with your online data. Technology security company, Sophos, was reporting that that the 'fake' Obama email accounted for 60 percent of all malicious email messages last Wednesday. Another security company, Sunbelt, has detailed pictures and descriptions of the actual emails which you can access here.

According to the CNET website,
''One piece of spam alleges to contain a link to video of Obama's acceptance speech. If you follow the video link within the email message you will be taken to a web page where you'll be asked to update your Adobe Flash Player with a file, adobe_flash9.exe, first. This is not an official Adobe update file and downloading this file may in turn infect your computer with a Trojan.''

The effect of the Trojan are as follows according to software security firm Sophos: The email uses rootkit technology to conceal itself,
italso as general backdoor functionality. The application spies on a user's keyboard and mouse inputs and can take screenshots.
Ultimately the malware searches the computer for passwords, and it then submits the information it discovers to a webserver located in Kiev, Ukraine.

It is common sense to be careful when opening email that comes from an unknown source. If you are a web hosting professional that needs to protect clients from email malware and malicious activity transmitted via email, there are a number of great options out there. One is offered by SpamExperts B.V. Chief Marketing Officer, Nils Decker, provided this overview of the company's latest antispam solution, ''SpamExperts has recently launched its version 2.0 of the SpamExperts Domain product line. All hosted and dedicated spamfilters now make use of this improved system which allows for even higher volume filtering, a criteria most critical to webhosters and ISPs. Additionally, log-searching, domain administration, statistics and many other things were improved further, making SpamExperts the choice for any ISP looking for a professional anti-spam vendor. Furthermore, a whitelabel web-based frontend comes with this new system for all dedicated spamfilters, allowing for full integration into the webhosts shop.''

As far as your individual email accounts are concerned here is further advice from web hosting experts.

George Roberts is best known as the founder of web hosting trade show, HostingCon. Mr. Roberts is also CEO at Interjuncture Corp., which provides the Easy Antispam email protection service. Mr. Roberts suggested that users protect their inboxes ad follows, ''The best way to protect yourself against spoof and phishing emails is to not click links directly from emails. It is much better to go directly to the website of the business purportedly sending the email to determine whether the message sent was legitimate.''

''Make sure your antivirus and antispam software is up to date and kept current'' states the owner of hosting firm 34sp.com, Daniel Foster. ''You should also have an email package which includes spam and virus filtering from your provider, so that you never end up getting spam in the first place.''

In summary, be extra careful if you see an email with a popular current event listed in the subject. Treat all emails as potentially suspicious - especially those that originate from a source that you do not know personally. Protect your inbox with antispam software and whitelisting. Insist that your web hosting provider and email provider use security measures to protect your inbox as well.

This content was written by Derek Vaughan exclusively for Compare Web Hosts.

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