Spam mail could be more than just irritating, according to UK industry group The Corporate IT Forum (tif). It has identified an invidious new form of virus that is spread via junk mail to avoid antivirus and firewall systems.
Tif warns that spam mail can include links that, if clicked, activate a bug or more worryingly a key-logger virus which records keystrokes to work out thinks like passwords and bank and credit card details.
The new menace, termed v-spam, is often disguised as a mail offering to unsubscribe the recipient from a junk emailing list or promising a special offer or discount.
David Roberts, tif chief executive, warns of the danger of following such links in spam mail: "Clicking on a link is the equivalent of handing a burglar they keys to your house. People must understand that there could be a nasty shock lurking behind each and every spam mail."
Tif has issued the following guidelines to help users avoid infecting their computers:
-- Ensure your antivirus software is up to date
-- Don't click on links in mails from unknown senders or be conned by "great offers"
-- Only click on a link if you are sure it is from a reliable source
-- Think twice before forwarding a spam offer to a friend.