Email scams - how to avoid being duped

Email scams are on the rise, but commonsense is the best defence.
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  • Updated:3 Dec 2008


  • Botnet: A group of computers running programs (worms or Trojans) that attack computers to obtain information or use them for nefarious purposes.
  • DoS: A denial-of-service (DoS) is an attack on a computer system, network or service, which interferes with its operation, attempting to make it unavailable.
  • Keylogger: A program or device that records keystrokes to capture passwords or email addresses.
  • Malware: Short for malicious software, which is intended to damage or disrupt a system, such as a virus or a Trojan.
  • Phishing: Emails that try to lure the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. The email directs the user to visit a fake website and update personal information, such as passwords and credit card or bank account numbers.
  • Spam: Unwanted emails that are sent in large quantities around the internet. Email spam targets users with direct mail messages. Email spam lists are often created by scanning newsgroup postings, stealing internet mailing lists or searching the web for addresses.
  • Trojan: A malicious program hidden in a benign application. Often used by hackers to enable access to the victim’s computer.
  • Spyware: Software that monitors user activity on the Internet and transmits that information in the background to someone else. Spyware can also gather information about email addresses and even passwords and credit card numbers. Spyware applications are typically bundled as a hidden component of freeware or shareware programs that can be downloaded from the internet, although the majority of these applications are safe.
  • Virus: A program or piece of code that is loaded onto your computer without your knowledge. A virus can use all available memory and bring the computer to a halt. Viruses can be transmitted across networks and bypass security systems.
  • Worm: A self-replicating computer program, often used as a means to propagate viruses or other malware.


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