If you are old enough then there is a good chance that you have heard the term chain mail before. The term chain mail means mail that is sent to you with a message. You are supposed to read the message and then send it along to someone else. Sometimes you are supposed to send it to a random stranger and other times you are supposed to send it to someone that you know. Sometimes the chain mail would ask you to send money but most of the time you were just supposed to spread the message along. This is something of a superstitious tradition because people would really believe that you would get bad luck if you did not send the chain mail along to another recipient. And believe it or not this batch of superstition still lives on to this day.
It is funny how offline activities follow along with us while we shift our lives online. And believe it or not the chain mail phenomenon is one that has reached online as well. Well I guess if you think about its not that hard to believe. Most of the people when they first go online sign up for an email account. Getting and receiving email is most people’s first online interactions. So it makes sense that these same people would treat the mail that they have coming to their email address just like they would the real mail that they get at their house every day. But there is another problem that they have to contend with when they are getting and sending these chain mail type email letters. Some of these messages can be dangerous if they are not handled correctly.
Yes, black hat hackers know about this phenomenon as well and they have adjusted accordingly. They know that people who are more likely to send this type of chain mail through their email address are also the same people who are more likely to click on any attack that they set up. That is why they use these kinds of messages to deliver attacks to unwitting victims. When you have people who are naïve about electronics they tend to make easy victims.
The attacks that you mostly see are of the phishing variety. While you can see more sophisticated types of attacks when it comes to chain mails online, most of the time you will just see a simple phishing attack. There is less of a need to set up a highly technical attack when you are dealing with people are not that technically knowledgeable in the first place. And as we said earlier in the article for the most part the people who send these messages are not the most knowledgeable when it comes to tech related items. That is why you will see that the skill level in these phishing attacks is not even on the same level as they are in other types of phising attacks. If you remember, the people who send these letters often are willing to send money as well. A simple link pretending to be a charity or anything similar will usually work in a situation such as this.
You have to remember that when you are online the rules are a little bit different than when you are in real life. And you must be willing to adjust accordingly. A chain mail that goes through your email is not the same as a chain mail that is sent to you through normal mail. With the wrong click of a link someone could wipe out your checking account completely.
photo: Alaskan Dude