Spammers are now stooping lower than ever by targeting American college graduates in search of relief from their heaping student loans. Recently, a group of spammers has targeted college students by sending out spam mail with the promise of reducing their student debt.
According to recent reports, hackers have sent various spam runs via email to take advantage of students. In these emails, they lure borrowers with the promise of loan forgiveness due to a federal law regarding new consolidation rules. Victims have reported being instructed to purchase iTunes gift cards for hundreds of dollars in place of an “application fee” and then they are provided with a link. Once the user opens the attached file or clicks on the link, it starts downloading other malware in the background without the user knowing what is going on. The form of each spam mail may vary, but they all lead to one thing: Ascesso.
Ascesso is a type of Trojan that spreads through social engineering and exploitation. This kind of malware empowers hackers for future attacks, like denial-of-service offensives (DDoS) and malware campaigns. Depending on the infected strain, the Trojan may also download additional plugins to the victim’s computer system. Anti-virus software will usually help with preventing these types of malware, unless the virus is a zero-day variant.
Students should always be aware of the emails they receive when it comes to the waiving of their loan. They should also be sure to pay close attention to the source of the forgiveness inquiries. There are several of these traps swirling around, and it is very likely that new versions of malware can be developed, so stick with government issued forgiveness plans and always check the legitimacy of your sources.
The best practices when dealing with spam email is to just delete it if you aren’t sure who the sender is.