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Showing posts tagged with Spam
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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.


Dylan Morss | 02 Mar 2009 22:36:58 GMT | 0 comments

Over the month of February I decided to keep an eye on spam messages that were using the cult of the Academy Awards celebrity to peddle products. I tracked spam using the names of the actors nominated for best actor and actress in a leading role in the subject line.
The results were overwhelming! It seems that although an Oscar nomination can mean big bucks and recognition in the world of big budget films, studios, and pop culture, it doesn't carry so much weight in the world of spam finance.
Of the ten actors nominated, only three appeared in spam subject lines in February. Anne Hathaway received an honorable mention with one spam message. The rest of the spam went to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. The other seven actors received no spam counts and will have to be satisfied with not being chosen to help fatten the pockets of spammers. If the spammers could vote for the awards, it’s obvious that things would have turned out a whole lot...

Mayur Kulkarni | 02 Mar 2009 21:16:55 GMT | 0 comments

This is a continuation of our earlier write-up on Russian spam related to phone and ICQ numbers. We are continuing to see these messages, but now with a slight transformation. The message body is blank with all of the content, such as phone numbers, summarized in the subject line.

This technique can be disadvantageous because of the length limitation for a single line in an email. Most email clients support a maximum of 78 characters per line. Secondly, non-ASCII* characters, such as those used with Russian language emails, are encoded using schemes like Base64 or Quoted Printable. This increases the length of an already long subject line, often resulting in a split over a number of lines. As shown in the below example, the encoded line actually spans three lines.

We can now look at two or more such lines in the subject line as additional...