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Showing posts tagged with Spam
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Dermot Harnett | 13 Mar 2009 22:25:53 GMT | 0 comments

In the legal realm, certain spammers have, from time to time, occupied the defendant’s chair. In a recent spam attack it seems that a spammer wishes to change this legal position and become the “pied piper” in some class action lawsuits.

The FDA first approved Avandia in 1999 to treat type 2 or adult onset diabetes. In February 2009, a spam message relating to this drug was reported to be making the rounds. The message comes with the following subject line: “Have You Taken AVANDIA? Important Lawsuit Information.”  The spam message indicates that “If you or someone you know has taken Avandia you or that someone or their family may be entitled to monetary damages.” A URL link is available for the recipient to click on to “Begin Your Free Review Form.”




Dermot Harnett | 13 Mar 2009 22:19:49 GMT | 0 comments

Everyone is talking about going green these days, and it’s not just because St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner on March 17th. The Obama administration has recently reiterated its efforts to create "21st century jobs that improve energy efficiency and utilize renewable resources." With the renewed attention on environmental responsibility, spammers seem to be inspired and have decided on contributing with green spam.

We recently observed a spam attack with a message claiming that the recipient could lower their electric bill to $0.00 per month, with the possibility of even getting a power company to pay the recipient for the use of any excess energy produced. Among the reasons provided by the spammer as to why this offer should be accepted was: “You will be able to protect your pocket book during these recession times and spend money on more important things...”

The green spam “offer” included the following testimonials...

Dermot Harnett | 11 Mar 2009 20:09:07 GMT | 0 comments

From Martha Stewart to Anna Kournikova—even the White House has one—blogs and microblogs are all the rage, with the ability to self-publish one’s thoughts and experiences for the world to read. The Symantec Security Response spam blog has recently published a myriad of posts documenting the ever-changing spam landscape. Symantec’s antispam team has blogged about recent spam attacks, such as Russian bride spam, spam attacks targeting job seekers, and even Turkish-language spam; so, it is fitting that a recent spam message observed by Symantec related to getting “paid” to write blogs should be discussed here.

The spam message claimed things like “freelance writers are needed” and “post in blogs”—all packaged together nicely with an offer to get paid anything...

Mayur Kulkarni | 11 Mar 2009 19:16:13 GMT | 0 comments

Phishing emails are sometimes known to elicit emotions such as fear, uncertainty, and in some cases panic. One particular type of phishing message will normally contain a warning that attempts to convince users to click on fraudulent links. Often, these warnings are in the form of fake “Account Update” or “Account Restriction” notifications, and contain a variety of features designed to trick the recipients into thinking that the email is genuine.

We recently came across an interesting Russian sample, which displays yet another method used to deliver the “fear factor.” The fraudster introduces him/herself as a thief who has stolen money from the recipient of the message, and states that the money will not be returned. The obvious attempt here is to trick the recipient into reacting with panic. The scammer will be hoping that panic will lead the user to try and check out whatever information is available in the message, and in this case the...

Mayur Kulkarni | 11 Mar 2009 17:24:45 GMT | 0 comments

In our earlier blog post on Italian spam, we reported seeing spammers testing their spam in local languages, perhaps for better acceptability in that respective region. Spammers are trying to understand the requirements and psychology of the local population, and therefore are working on their messages to gain as much attention and profit as possible. This work mainly includes the use of a local language in the message to give it an authentic look-and-feel.

Spam content in such emails may have been translated from an English version, perhaps using free language translation tools on the Internet. Another option is to have the desired text translated to native languages by a professional translator and then use it for spamming.

In the Turkish spam sample below, spammers are offering recipients the chance to learn and enhance their English know-...

Dermot Harnett | 07 Mar 2009 00:50:31 GMT | 0 comments

Following closely on the heels of Valentine’s Day spam, a new wave of Russian bride spam has emerged. During the final analysis on Valentine’s Day-related spam, it became apparent that as the holiday approached there was a 700 percent increase in spam messages with a Valentine’s Day theme. The biggest increases by percentage were seen in the phrases “February 14,” with a 200 percent increase; “Valentine’s Day,” with a 500 percent increase; and last, but certainly not least, the term “Valentine” experienced a 9,000 percent increase as Valentine’s Day came and went for another year.

Russian bride spam has been around for a number of years now. With previous Russian bride spam examples, the recipient was encouraged to communicate over email with a prospective bride. However, the problem with...

Dermot Harnett | 06 Mar 2009 23:09:20 GMT | 0 comments

With the constant talk of the dismal economic climate and general doom and gloom in February 2009, spammers remind us that Spring is here and are suggesting various vacation “offers” to lighten the mood. Spammers have advertised vacation offers in Mexico (Cancun in particular), Lake Tahoe, Arizona, South Carolina and multiple timeshares with the subject lines including:


  • Looking for savings on a Mexico vacation? Book online
  • 4 Days & 3 Nights Confirmation
  • Visit Cancun With A 3 Night Free Stay - No Purchases Required
  • Need a Vacation - Get great travel deals sent right to your inbox
  • Mind, Body, Spirit - Come to Sedona Arizona On Us
  • Experience North Lake Tahoe With Complimentary Accommodations
  • Escape to the Outer Banks for Breathtaking Beauty and the perfect family getaway
  • Don't just dream of the Sand and Sun, experience its beauty


Takako Yoshida | 06 Mar 2009 22:22:11 GMT | 0 comments

A certain type of bank transfer scam, referred to as a “Hey-it’s-me” scam, seems to be on the rise in Japan these days. According to the National Police Agency in Japan, more than 20,000 cases of this type of scam were recorded in 2008—up from 17,930 cases in 2007. The “Hey-it's-me” scam is a common type of fraud in Japan that often plays out as follows: A scammer makes a phone call to an elderly person and says, “Hi grandpa, it’s me! I’m in big trouble and need some money. Could you transfer funds into my bank account?” Sometimes the scammers even use a name from a selection of the victim’s relatives by obtaining a list of students or employees beforehand. Recently, police have increased their efforts to thwart this type of scam by taking measures such as posting warning signs and placing police officers at ATMs.

While a scam carried out over the telephone receives greater local attention, people are now...

Mayur Kulkarni | 04 Mar 2009 21:47:44 GMT | 0 comments

Does online gambling give the biggest thrill? Why not—earning easy money is always exciting. Do you want to know the results of the big games in advance? It guarantees big returns, after all. There will always be someone falsely claiming to be able to help you achieve this dream.

Symantec has recently observed emails regarding online betting that claim to provide recipients with details behind the “fixed” football matches. The spammers claim that confidential information on the results of such matches can be used for a betting advantage. The sender claims that he can be contacted at a pre-provided email address, if the recipient is interested in buying this information cheaply. Or, the victim could be drawn in one step further and could bet on these matches using a spammer-owned website.

Users should be aware that online gambling is often associated with fraud, unless strictly regulated. There are various risks involved, the least of which is...

Vivian Ho | 04 Mar 2009 21:19:21 GMT | 0 comments

In the past decade, rapid economic growth has been observed in China. Enterprises have expanded their businesses rapidly and business travelers are often required to conduct business across China. All enterprises require employees to file expense reports, which include tax invoices or receipts in order to obtain financial compensation.

In China the tax is issued before the purchase occurs, and one may purchase a tax invoice from a government agency. This is quite different from the United States or European countries where tax is added after the purchase occurs. Tax invoice counterfeiters use spam emails to make offers to sell tax invoices to a business owner at a reduced rate. For this tax evasion service, these invoice counterfeiters will quite often offer a large purchase discount. The service involving selling and issuing fake invoices to help business owners deduct tax expenses has always been the most frequently seen spam in the simplified Chinese language.