Phishing, the preferred method of Internet crooks out to steal identities, is the subject of National Cyber Security Awareness Month.
Since its inception in 2003, the month-long observance has been dedicated to helping consumers learn more about protecting themselves from cyber attacks.
Del Mar College Director of Cyber Security Dr. David Abarca and his students focus on getting the word out about phishing, hoping to reach those who are not aware of the dangers floating around the World Wide Web.
"And you would think, 'Nobody falls for this,'" Abarca said. "If they didn't, they wouldn't be doing this."
Abarca is keeping Twitter followers and Facebook fans informed of the running total of all the potential dollars he could receive based on all the spam solicitations emailed to him daily -- now in the millions.
The point being, he says, is that spam emails are scams, and those less savvy Internet surfers and anyone who gets email can fall victim to them. He said those deals come from places like Africa and Europe, offering millions of dollars. Those offers open the door to cyber attack and the possibility of emptying your bank account.
"Even though Internet service providers are doing a better job of weeding out these emails, they are finding other ways to get through," Abarca said. "So they're still coming in spite of all the efforts companies are doing, and I can't even begin to imagine the number of spam and scam emails that they're filtering out, if this many are still getting through."
Abarca says that, to date, if he had responded to any of those phishing offers just this month, and if they were real, he would be up more than $60 million. He says that if an offer sounds too good to be true, it's probably a scam.
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