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Virus writers are notorious for launching attacks around major holidays like Christmas, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day, warns BitDefender. The infamous Storm Worm struck million’s of Internet users’ systems in February 2008 with the lure of receiving a Valentine’s Day gift. The e-mail message contained a Web link which directed users to a Web site where they could supposedly download a Valentine's card. Instead of receiving a card from a loved one, their system was infected with the Storm Worm and their personal information was stolen.

In order to prevent a similar system infection over Valentine’s Day 2009, users should avoid opening emails with subject lines advertising Valentine’s gifts, such as sexual enhancement pills and cheap replicas for jewelry, designer bags and watches. These emails can contain attachments or links to other sites that can infect a user’s computer.

Such examples include e-mails with the subject line “I Love Being In Love With You.” The e-mail contains a malicious link that will infect a user’s computer with the Waledac botnet when clicked. The Waledac bot operates in a similar manner as the Storm Worm. It infects new users via fake, malware-packed greeting cards.

Other Valentine’s Day spam waves BitDefender Lab has detected include unsolicited messages from online pharmacies, adult websites, online casinos, and adult retailers.

“Valentine’s Day in particular is an ideal opportunity for malware writers to trick unsuspecting users into opening attachments or clicking malicious links on e-mail messages with romantic subject lines,” said BitDefender’s head of antispam research, Vlad Valceanu, “Users need to be wary of the different URLs they click on during holiday seasons, as they will start to notice their inboxes increasingly being flooded with targeted spam during these periods.”

Other tips for keeping your computer, and all of your personal information safe, no matter the time of year include:

- Do not open e-mails from unknown or distrusted sources. Many viruses spread via e-mail messages so ask for a confirmation from the sender if you are in any doubt.

- Do not open the attachments of messages with suspicious or unexpected subject lines. If you want to open them, first save them to your hard disk and scan them with an updated antivirus program.

- Delete any chain e-mails or unwanted messages. Do not forward them or reply to their senders. These kinds of messages are considered spam, because they are undesired and unsolicited and they can overload the Internet traffic.

- Update your system and applications as often as possible. Some operating systems and applications can be set to update automatically. Make full use of this facility. Failure to patch your system often enough may leave it vulnerable to threats for which fixes already exist.

- Do not copy any file if you don't know or don't trust its source. Check the source of files you download and make sure that an antivirus program has already verified the files at their source.

BitDefender also recommends (aside from not clicking spam links) the use of an integrated security solution, one that offers antivirus, antispam and a firewall, but also has advanced features like web filtering and identity protection.

About BitDefender®

BitDefender is the creator of one of the industry's fastest and most effective lines of internationally certified security software. Since its inception in 2001, BitDefender has continued to raise the bar and set new standards in proactive threat prevention. Every day, BitDefender protects tens of millions of home and corporate users across the globe — giving them the peace of mind of knowing that their digital experiences will be secure. BitDefender solutions are distributed by a global network of value-added distribution and reseller partners in more than 100 countries worldwide. More information about BitDefender and its products are available at the company’s security solutions press room. Additionally, BitDefender’s provides background and the latest updates on security threats helping users stay informed in the everyday battle against malware.

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Contact details:

Mike Ottewell
PR for BitDefender UK & Ireland
Tel: 01538 750 538

Nick Billington
BitDefender Country Manager (UK and Ireland)
Fax:- 0845 130 5069

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