With virus writers, hackers and spammers disguising their attacks as bogus Valentine's cards, Sophos is warning computer users not to get carried away trying to find out who their secret admirer might be.
According to the IT security and control firm, users must exercise caution when opening and clicking on links contained within unsolicited electronic greeting cards, as
a Sophos poll reveals that eight out of 10 systems administrators are worried that ecards pose a security risk.
Sophos notes that while systems administrators are clearly well aware of the risks, it's essential that all employees are educated about the dangers, and taught how to avoid falling victim. Cybercriminals are well known for using social engineering tactics to trick unwary users into inadvertently downloading malicious code – this Valentine's day will be no exception as the fraudsters will try and exploit all the fun and romance for their own benefit.
"A favourite trick among hackers is to disguise their attack as an ecard from an anonymous admirer, and as Valentine's Day approaches we can expect the fraudsters to redouble their efforts," says Brett Myroff, CEO of regional Sophos distributor, Sophos South Africa.
System administrators may well be on guard as lovelorn workers inadvertently allow cybercriminals access to the corporate network. "It wouldn't be a surprise if some choose to block all electronic Valentine's cards," Myroff says.
It seems that anyone who may feel left out over the Valentine's weekend may further be all the more inclined to open a romantic ecard sitting in their inbox when they go back to work on Monday. "Putting pen to paper would certainly be a safer bet against your Valentine's message not getting through," he adds.
Sophos advises all users take computer security seriously every day of the year.