Weird "Ghost Spam" Testing Addresses

A wave of strange e-mails with strings of numbers as their only message are most likely a spammer's or hacker's test of his mailing list, several security companies concluded Thursday, and may presage a junk mail campaign or a malware attack.

The messages, which Panda Software characterized as "ghost mail," are unusual in that the send and from fields are the recipient's own address, that the subject heading is a number -- 455, 557, 56757, 586876, or 1545453 -- and the message body is a mix of HTML and apparently random numbers.

Unlike most malicious mail or spam, these do not include a file attachment (the usual way e-mail is used to deliver worms or Trojan horses), nor do they include an embedded link, as do phishing messages.

"The most likely scenario is that a group of hackers are checking the validity of e-mail address databases," said Luis Corrons, director of Panda's research, in a statement. "By sending these messages they can determine if the addresses...

ยป InformationWeek - Gregg Keizer - 08-06-2006

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