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‘Zombie bots’ are coming for lonely singles on Valentine’s Day

By Richard Morgan From New York Post

America’s lonely hearts are more likely than ever to catch a virus this Valentine’s Day — on their computer.

An especially aggressive robot network of 6 million “zombie bots” will be set loose this week ahead of the Feb. 14 celebration — each one with an attractive come-on looking to entice a lovesick victim, according to IBM.

But don’t go looking for love in all the wrong in-boxes, warns IBM’s X-Force warns. X-Force is the IBM unit that searches out and tracks down cyber threats.

Since Jan. 16, US email in-boxes have been inundated with 230 million dating-spam messages, according to X-Force.

Now, heading into Valentine’s Day week, X-Force is predicting a massive uptick in computer come-ons. It attributed the uptick to a notorious botnet called Necurs.

“Preying on seasonal trends is probably the top characteristic of e-mail spam,” X-Force said in a statement. “Those behind this campaign will likely lure their victims to share revealing photos and extort them, ask for money to come visit, or end up infecting them with malware.”

While dating-spam scams are as old as e-mail itself, X-Force credited Necurs with upping their plausibility.

Its current campaign continues to feature “Russian women,” but now they are supposedly living in the US and claim to have been drawn to their marks after seeing their profiles on Facebook or Badoo — a popular dating app in Russia with an international presence.

Here are tips to avoid becoming a victim. Look for:

Bad grammar
A too-good-to-be-true come-on, like “I must say you are very cute and I would like to know you more!”
An e-mail return address differs from the arrival address.

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