Mitt Romney Defeats Newt Gingrich in Round 1 of Spam Wars

E-mail spam filter 3d concept
Political faces, celebrities and soccer players are just as useful for malware dissemination

It’s presidential election year in America and both political parties and voters are caught up in the political battle. For spammers though, it’s a regular business year.

An analysis of 8 million unsolicited messages collected January place Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Bill Clinton as cyber-criminals’ top picks for their US-based spam campaigns.


Politicians mentioned in spam mail – breakdown by name

Political figures are mentioned in 0,243% of the analyzed spam. Mitt Romney enjoys the largest exposure, his name being especially used in scam messages that advertise low-interest loans, free credit score analysis or ways to reduce the costs of the energy bill. Most of these offerings however redirect that unwary user to survey site scams or knockoff drugs for sexual dysfunctions.

These links are interlined with fragments of news messages to give extra credibility to the message and, at the same time, to trick antispam filters that look for the percentage of links versus other words in the message.


Romney’s rival, Newt Gingrich is mentioned in similar campaigns trying to sell high-interest loans and miracle devices that, once plugged into an outlet, dramatically cut energy costs. This reveals, once again, that political parties and colors don’t really make any difference for spammers, who use candidates’ names alike just to accomplish their hidden agenda.


Political changes have a great impact over the average computer user, and this is why spammers rely on political names to make users open junk mail. In comparison, celebrity spam – which was one of the most popular forms of promoting junk mail in 2008 and 2009, is currently situated at a faint 0,158% of the worldwide number of spam with Jay Leno, Eva Longoria, Roger Federer and Cameron Diaz mentioned the most.

About the author


Bogdan Botezatu is living his second childhood at Bitdefender as senior e-threat analyst. When he is not documenting sophisticated strains of malware or writing removal tools, he teaches extreme sports such as surfing the web without protection or rodeo with wild Trojan horses. He believes that most things in life can be beat with strong heuristics and that antimalware research is like working for a secret agency: you need to stay focused at all times, but you get all the glory when you catch the bad guys.