Industry News

Early September spamming trends

Don't bet on paying for hot dates with your credit card - fake job opportunities don

September’s early days came with several new major spam waves. Although the themes and schemes are anything but new, the magnitude and, in some cases, the malicious payloads prove that spammers ended their vacations too.

One large wave, with messages written in as many as five languages and links constantly changing, invites gambling aficionados to take their chances on-line.

Fig. 1. If you feel like gambling, go to a real casino. If you end up broke, at least your computer won’t be filled with malware.

Another significant wave targets the unemployed and those eager for extra moneythrough various paid activities. The sample below advertises an alleged position of Local Coordinator for students in exchange programs in Australia. Of course, the crooks behind expect gullible recipients to send resumes to a so-called Employment Manager.

The “Employment Manager” is Timothy. The message sender is Rita. The domain is owned by an accounting company. Alarmed?

Fig. 2. You shouldn’t answer this kind of employment offer. Contact a real recruitment agency instead.

Probably as part of an initial phishing raid, another considerable spam wave attempts to dupe credit card owners into believing somebody emptied their accounts. The poor layout and composition of this message should sound the alarm in the first place. The zipped attachment doesn’t hold additional details – just a nasty Trojan meant to harm your machine and steal data.

Fig. 3. No bank or credit card company would ever send such important information via e-mail.

Last but not least, my old-time favorite – on-line dating spam – strikes back too -With the promise of a young companion who loves “spontaneous freakiness.” The message doesn’t includea batch of alluring pictures in the zipped attachment, but another Trojan.

Fig. 4. Try dating someone in the real world, as the consequences on your computer will probably be less dramatic.

To avoid getting yourself and your computer into trouble, you should normally install a defensive suite on your system, ideally with strong antispam and powerful antimalware components. In case you have difficulties in finding one, here’s a tip: Bitdefender Total Security 2012.

Before wishing you – as always– ‘Safe e-mailing and surfing everybody!’, please allow me to thank my colleague from the Antispam Lab, Adrian Miron, who generously contributed to the conception of this post, with a genuine massive collection of juicy spams.

All product and company names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and are the property of, and may be trademarks of, their respective owners.

About the author

Răzvan LIVINTZ

With a humanities passion and background (BA and MA in Comparative Literature at the Faculty of Letters, University of Bucharest) - complemented by an avid interest for the IT world and its stunning evolution, I joined in the autumn of 2003 the chief editors' team from Niculescu Publishing House, as IT&C Chief Editor, where (among many other things) I coordinated the Romanian version of the well-known SAMS Teach Yourself in 24 Hours series. In 2005 I accepted two new challenges and became Junior Lecturer at the Faculty of Letters (to quote U2 - "A Sort of Homecoming") and Lead Technical Writer at BluePhoenix Solutions.

After leaving from BluePhoenix in 2008, I rediscovered "all that technical jazz" with the E-Threat Analysis and Communication Team at BitDefender, the creator of one of the industry's fastest and most effective lines of internationally certified security software. Here I produce a wide range of IT&C security-related content, from malware, spam and phishing alerts to technical whitepapers and press releases. Every now and then, I enjoy scrutinizing the convolutions of e-criminals' "not-so-beautiful mind" and, in counterpart, the new defensive trends throughout posts on www.hotforsecurity.com.

Balancing the keen and until late in night (please read "early morning") reading (fiction and comparative literature studies mostly) with Internet "addiction", the genuine zeal for my bright and fervid students with the craze for the latest discoveries in science and technology, I also enjoy taking not very usual pictures (I'm not a pro, but if you want to see the world through my lenses, here are some samples http://martzipan.blogspot.com), messing around with DTP programs to put out some nifty book layouts and wacky t-shirts, roaming the world (I can hardly wait to come back in the Big Apple), and last but not least, driving my small Korean car throughout the intricacies of our metropolis's traffic.