SPIM, SPAM, SPLOG -- It all Adds Up to Identity Theft

Get the lowdown on these methods for identity theft

Identity theft is always on the rise thanks in part to SPAM and a couple of its relatives, SPIM and SPLOG. Learn about the familiar and unfamiliar methods cybercriminals use to steal your personal information and commit identity theft.

SPAM

We're all too familiar with SPAM. You know, the junk you find in your email box trying to get you to try the latest get rich quick product. Right now, SPAM makes up 68.4%, and rising, of all email traffic.

While SPAM got its start with email, it has now spread to every part of our electronic lives. For instance, find SPAM in instant messages, newsgroups, search engines, blogs, wikis, online classified ads, mobile phones, Internet forums, fax messages, and social networks.

In other words, SPAM smothers us. Now, if SPAM was for the sole purpose of annoying us, that would be one thing. But, it isn't. SPAM sent by cybercriminals intends to commit email identity theft.

Among these many types of SPAM, two you may not have heard of are SPIM and SPLOG.

SPIM

SPIM is SPAM sent through instant messaging. Criminals broadcast unsolicited messages containing hyperlinks to people they don't know. The hyperlink in their instant messages usually leads to a malicious site or a phishing site where they attempt to get your personal information or attach backdoor Trojans to your computer.

Seen some of these? You're on your computer. All of a sudden, you get an instant message from someone you don't recognize. You think you surely must know the person but just don't recognize their IM name. You respond or click on the hyperlink they send you and... you've been had.

Prevent SPIM by choosing to receive instant messages only from people on your contact list. If you use AOL instant messaging and receive SPIM, take advantage of the system and use it to warn others of the SPIM message. Also never click on a hyperlink found in any SPIM messages you receive.

SPLOG

SPLOG is a word combination of SPAM and blog. Can you guess? It's blog SPAM or comment SPAM. These are the comments you see on your favorite blogs that have absolutely no value. The Spammers only comment to promote their sites or to imbed malicious links into a blog that gets high traffic.

By doing this, the Splogger gets a higher ranking from search engines and free traffic from the blog. The catch is sometimes the hyperlink they embed often leads to a phishing or malicious site that attaches Trojans to your computer to steal your personal information.

SPLOG is easy to recognize so make it a rule to never click on a hyperlink that shows up in blog comments.

Your best identity theft protection is following safe practices. By staying on top of the latest Internet threats and being aware of the tactics used by cybercriminals, continue to avoid identity theft. As always, keep your computer updated with the latest security patches, install reliable anti-virus software, and follow the advice in this article to avoid SPIM, SPAM, and SPLOG.

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