03:51 PM

Spammers Get Ready For April Fool's Day

Barracuda Networks, a maker of spam firewalls, says spammers are expected to intensify their efforts as April 1 nears.

As if the flow of spam isn't problematic enough, here comes another wave.

Barracuda Networks, a maker of spam firewalls, says E-mail users should prepare for a spike in spam activity leading up to April Fool's Day. Spammers are expected to use subject lines such as "great joke," "free jokes," "prank," or "April fools" to entice users into opening attachments that carry viruses or objectionable content, potentially putting company networks at risk.

Spammers increasingly have used holidays such as Christmas or Valentine's Day to take advantage of consumers looking to get good deals on holiday-related purchases. But in the absence of a commercial hook for April Fool's Day, they're likely to use the appeal of jokes to deliver malicious content. Barracuda warns that bogus April Fool's messages may come in large-enough quantities to flood company networks that don't have up-to-date spam and virus filters.

Barracuda says it plans to modify its spam rules to provide temporary April Fool's protection for its customers. But it also has commonsense suggestions for how companies can protect their networks against the anticipated onslaught. Among them: Exercise extra vigilance with messages that may appear to be harmless; include the terms above in E-mail subject and body-text filters over the next several days; verify that E-mails were sent from a valid domain; block IP addresses of known spammers; make sure spam and virus filters are updated with the latest definitions; and remind users to delete messages received from E-mail addresses they don't recognize.

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