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The Wave of Linsanity Sweeps Through the Spam Industry

Created: 15 Mar 2012 13:04:04 GMT • Updated: 23 Jan 2014 18:16:46 GMT • Translations available: 日本語
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Nobody knew about Jeremy Lin a couple of months ago. But now, Linsanity rocks the world. Being a new NBA star, his name has already been mentioned countless times on ESPN, NY Times, and all other sports media.

If you are a fan of Jeremy Lin, you would probably like to collect his No.17 T-shirt, posters, and signature. One thing you would not like to collect is Linsanity junk mail. Unfortunately, spammers are jumping on the bandwagon as well.

As a Taiwanese descendant, Jeremy Lin’s background makes him unique in the NBA. Jeremy Lin inspires not only an enthusiasm for basketball, but also an interest in learning Chinese.  His humbleness and hard work also attract lots of overseas commercial invitations, especially in the Chinese market. In this particular trend, spammers use his fame to promote this Chinese flashcard website.

Lin has claimed that he is in no rush to use his fame to become a commercial advocate, but he probably doesn’t know how quickly spammers or businessmen leverage his fame to sell items on the Internet. Because of his popularity, Jeremy Lin has become one of the top searches on search engines. Symantec has identified a Chinese clothes-sale online shop that illustrates this idea. They sell clothes in a blog platform. Subject lines in every blog entry begin with his Chinese name 林書豪 (Shu-How Lin), followed by product item names, sizes, and colors. In this way, the e-shop’s ranking  elevates so that products can be more easily exposed in a sea of clothes.

Using celebrity names in the "Subject" line to attract readers’ attention is an old trick. Symantec would like to remind users to be cautious as we have observed increasing volume of this spam type and expect more spam samples related to this NBA star to coincide with the NBA season. Symantec employs a “zone defense” in the spam world.