Anyone with an email account knows that there are plenty of spam messages. Industry estimates are that from 52 to 58 percent of emails are unwanted spam.
In Costa Rica, the numbers seem to be augmented by financially challenged businesses that seek a cheap way to market.
The problem is that these commercial messages come mixed with dangerous spams that seek to implant hostile programs on computers and in some cases hold the computers hostage.
The United States, Vietnam and China are the world’s biggest sources of spam, according to securelist.com, a tracking service. Spamhaus.org says the world’s 10 biggest individual spammers are in the United States, Canada, Ukraine and Germany.
Just 10 years ago Costa Rica hosted international spammers, and the country’s computers were from time to time blacklisted by the rest of the world. That no longer seems to be the case because the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad and Radiográfica Costarricense S.A. cracked down and vigorously closed down spam rackets.
However there have been an increase in the number of legitimate marketing firms that use the cheap email technique. Unfortunately, these emails mix with the dangerous spam messages. And more is coming
Securelist.com says that the amount of seasonal spam traditionally increases in summer, and that this is true for both advertising and malicious spam. The holiday season saw spam with a travel theme: fake notifications from booking services, airlines and hotels were used to spread malicious programs, it added.
One that is all too common in Costa Rica is the fake message saying that a package could not be delivered. Spam experts say that by opening this message, a computer user can unleash a program that holds the computer hostage until a certain amount of money is paid in a wire transfer or by untraceable bitcoin.
There also has been a proliferation of emails seeking payment for a fake debt or pretending to be a receipt for a bank deposit. The spammer’s goal is to have the recipient open the attachment.