MessageLabs Intelligence, however, clearly notes that hackers' gravitation toward PDF files doesn't mean e-mail users should lower their guard on other file attachments. All it means is that hackers, with the help of more attack toolkits coming on the market, have made other formats "more popular as attack vectors."
The report advises e-mail users to be wary of all e-mail they receive.
"As will all malware over the years, the most effective means of protection is to be aware of the risks and use caution when dealing with any content delivered to a mailbox," MessageLabs advises. "Social engineering is often the key to the success of these types of attacks, so even if a security solution cannot safeguard the computer, then the last line of defense should be the user."
♦ Visuals courtesy of Symantec.cloud's MessageLabs Intelligence report for February 2011