No, this is not a new Monty Python skit. This is a real operation and is being implemented right now by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Operation Spamalot has halted trading in 35 companies. Their reason is basically that information regarding these companies have been spammed out through email to millions of people touting false or misleading information in order to drive up stock prices. We in Security Response have spoken of this phenomenon before in a couple of recent blogs, Spam and Stock Speculation and Trojan.Peacomm Part 2.
But now, the SEC has stepped in and is trying to put a stop to this activity and protect investors. They also state that there is an ongoing investigation to find the people who are responsible for this "misconduct." Until the people behind the spamming are caught, this type of scam will probably continue. The possible financial gain is such that the individual(s) responsible will probably continue taking these risks. When an organization as powerful as the SEC stands up and takes notice, this clearly shows that it's not just another meaningless email that has found its way to your inbox.