Spam messages could use Seasonal Greetings in subject line to trick users
During the past week, several spam emails have been received labeled simply as "MERRY CHRISTMAS
". However, the author was an unfamiliar name, so that is one method to quickly spot and avoid these types of messages.
As a person's name is spoofed in the author field, these messages could appear to be legimitate. On a couple of these, the author seemed to be a familiar name and I wasn't certain if it was spam until the message was opened.
Some of these messages were carefully evaluated from a security standpoint. While most were aggressive advertising messages, some pointed to websites. Visiting an unknown website can introduce spyware or other malware agents.
Most likely "HAPPY NEW YEAR" messages will be coming. In addition to spam, many viruses use themes and social engineering approaches centered around holiday greetings.
Please be careful with all email you encounter, as messages that appear to be safe could be designed to trick folks in infecting their PCs with spyware or viruses. Keep your AV software and Windows updated to the latest levels of protection. Finally, as an additional safety precaution, processing email in a plain text mode can help some.