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Internet Security Threat Report 2014

It will have escaped the notice of few readers that today is Valentine's Day, a celebration of romance, love and all things pink and fluffy.

It is also the time of year where there is tangible strain in the air as IT PR companies try desperately to find some way of putting a cupidesque spin on their clients' product lines. It seems unfair that their valiant efforts should go unrecorded, so here is a selection of pre-digested Valentine's Day morsels for your delectation.

Ever since the LoveBug attack, anti-virus firms have been queuing up to warn us that opening your heart too widely can result in nasty infections. Naturally, this goes double for Valentine's Day.

Sophos has discovered two new viruses using Valentine's messages to dupe love-sick computer users into opening attachments, although sightings of either are rare.

The Kipis-H worm, disguised as the attachment Valentine.EXE, is slithering around the web attached to emails with the subject line "Happy Valentine's Day". This worm turns off all anti-virus protection, installs a backdoor Trojan, and sends itself to all contacts in the user's address book.

Sophos would also have you be on guard against a message titled: "First Love Story...!!!", carrying a file called FirstLive.VBS. This is actually the VBSWG-D worm, and on Valentines' Day it will display the cheering message "Happy F***ing Valentine...!!!", send itself to all your contacts and shut down your computer. Nice.

Moral of the story on this one? Keep your antivirus software up to date, and don't open unsolicited, suspicious looking attachments. Easy.

Sending your loved one or a colleague a Valentine's message on company time is also fraught with peril, according to the American Management Association and the ePolicy Institute. A survey revealed that 87 per cent of US employers monitor email, so you'll almost certainly be spotted, and could be fired. The research found that 25 per cent of employees learned this lesson the hard way, although we can't help thinking that this number is a little high.

Nancy Flynn, executive director of The ePolicy Institute, points out the dangers of sending saucy notes from your office PC: "Hit the wrong key, and your hot message could land on the cold screens of supervisors, colleagues, or customers," she says. "Send a romantic e-mail to an indiscreet lover, and your private message could become the subject of public ridicule. Engage in steamy chat, and your IM could trigger a workplace lawsuit."

So, don't open romantic messages, and certainly don't send any. Not exactly in keeping with the spirit of the day, so far. But take heart: the online dating companies are here to make it all better.

"Valentine's Day so often focuses only on romantic love, which is a wonderful thing," explained Dr. Neil Warren, founder of eHarmony.com. "But eHarmony members know that successful relationships must be founded on the deeper values that can sustain love year-round."

Meanwhile, PerfectMatch.com has teamed up with Oprah Winfrey's best mate, Dr Phil, to devote a whole show to the delights of online love. And if that isn't enough, Match.com has put on an exhibition of romantic photographs to mark the occasion.

Aw. How lovely.

But online dating companies arguably have it slightly easier than organisations charged with promoting third generation services for mobile phones. Which is why we'll end the round up on this gem from Orange, a veritable masterpiece of making the angle work, regardless. Paraphrasing it would be to ruin a work of art:

The countdown clock to Valentines Day has started frenetically ticking and still most of us are racking our brains on how to create enough excitement for the most romantic day of the year. A new offer from the mobile company Orange, including two-for-the-price-of-one 3G video handsets could save the day for hot blooded Brits who want to gear up for an explosive evening. Just imagine the swell of anticipation that a few well placed video calls made during the day could make - and with 3G even last minute wonders could find themselves pulling the rabbit out of the hat with flowers and dinner reservations booked over the Orange network.

Stunning stuff. Happy Valentine's Day. ®

Related stories

US man cuffed over Valentine's net suicide pact
BSA piracy audit deadline looms for business
The Valentine's Day virus massacre
Have you forgotten it's Valentines Day?

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