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Security Response

Symantec State of Spam Report - June

Created: 03 Jun 2008 20:08:06 GMT • Updated: 23 Jan 2014 18:40:58 GMT
Kelly Conley's picture
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The June State of Spam Report demonstrates that spammers are utilizing current events to their advantage. The economic slowdown has been at the forefront of current event topics for some time, and is indisputably a hot item for spammers. In May, Symantec observed the continued offers by spammers to avoid home foreclosure. Many of these attempts are directed towards harvesting personal information and not towards helping anyone out of a loan crisis.

Other current events being used by spammers to take advantage of the public include rising gas prices, the economic stimulus package, and recent natural disasters. In the wake of rising gas prices, spammers are offering gas from unusual sources, like your water faucet. Free gas cards and other products aimed at creating gas out of  other unusual sources are also popular with spammers this month.

The economic stimulus package has spawned phishing emails that are similar to the scam emails that Symantec reported in March, regarding tax refunds. In this scam the spammer sends out a message that describes the stimulus package, which looks similar to what a legitimate email from the IRS would look like. The purpose of this message is to obtain personal information from unsuspecting people. Fear is also injected into this scam variant because the email states that failure to fill out the form may cause further delay of the receipt of your stimulus check. With the component of fear added to the message, end users may be more susceptible to giving out personal information to the wrong party.

Natural disasters are another area where spammers are taking advantage of people. The recent cyclone in Myanmar and the earthquake in China have triggered spammers into action, much like what happened during Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 tsunami. With regards to these incidents, we have observed typical 419 spam and fraudulent abuse of legitimate sites. If you are feeling altruistic, please make sure to verify the legitimacy of any emails or Web sites you may want to use when donating money.


Other topics covered in the June State of Spam report include:

  • Abuse of Google brand continues – Spammers began abusing the Google brand in November 2007 with the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ option and continue to do so in May of 2008 with the Google documents service.

  • Champions League final tickets scam – Spammers exploit the biggest football game in the annual European football calendar.

  • Invoice spam tactics evolve in the face of further crackdown Illegal invoice offers for tax evasion purposes take advantage of free e-card services.

  • The Secret of those work-from-home job offers  What is the spammer aiming for?



Message Edited by SR Blog Moderator on 06-05-2008 08:09 AM