Alerts E-Threats

The End Is Near. Buy a Survival Kit Now, Recent Spam Wave Advertises

The Bitdefender anti-spam lab identified a significant spam wave selling “patriots only” a complete survival kit to help them face the “imminent” apocalypse. For just a little under $50, the DVD-guide promises to assist every American family to prepare for the end of the world.

It’s been almost a week of on and off President Obama-related scam campaigns aiming for a context of uncertainty and insecurity among the American people.

Words like “MAJOR cover-up”, “Department of Homeland Security”, “recent reports”, “extra military” or “weapons”  paired with an alarmist but bogus Fox News Alert that “the President of the United States is hiding something” introduce a MUST-See video to scared US citizens.

Contrary to our fist belief and other similar spammed campaigns, this video doesn’t download a password stealing Trojan and doesn’t open a backdoor to a remote attacker. The video is a 25€”minute presentation of a Survival Guide for an apocalyptical scenario to the “over-confident and underprepared Americans”.

The Survival Kit is meant to help buyers identify and store vital food, set up a water purification system, plan a survival garden and build an off-grid survival backup power system.

Purchasing products advertised via spam is problematic when it comes to payment. To buy, people type in private data, including name, complete home or delivery address, e-mail and credit or debit card information, such as card number, name on the card, expiration date and validation code.

What can go wrong?

  • buyers may end up paying for goods they will never receive;
  • buyers may receive junk they never assigned for
  • buyers may have their identity stolen

Apocalyptic scenarios have always fascinated people world – wide but Americans seem to have undertaken more visible actions to prepare for the end of the world. People build bunkers out of underground cleared deposit or test sites. The end of the world theme is periodically recycled in blockbusters, documentaries or TV shows. Goods manufacturers create survival kits and sell them in stores every time a natural catastrophe hits or is forecast in the news. Individuals create communities and alter their lives to fit the end-of-the-world preparations into their routine.

That is why spammers see great potential with this product and aim to sell it exactly to those people inclined to act on the suspicion of an imminent disaster. As a rule of thumb, though, avoid purchasing products advertised via spam.

This article is based on the spam samples provided courtesy of  Adrian MIRON, Bitdefender Spam Researcher.

About the author


A blend of teacher and technical journalist with a pinch of e-threat analysis, Loredana Botezatu writes mostly about malware and spam. She believes that most errors happen between the keyboard and the chair. Loredana has been writing about the IT world and e-security for well over five years and has made a personal goal out of educating computer users about the ins and outs of the cybercrime ecosystem.