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 â€“ 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.