Discovery of More Politically Motivated Spam in the US
Monitors of Spam at PandaLabs have noticed an operation aimed at inducing users to visit a page hostile to the US government. Security information was sent through emails allegedly detailing a phishing attack. The links in the contents of the mails direct users to the page containing political propaganda.
The subject lines of the messages are targeted at those who use online banking services. The texts of the mails carry the link to the web page. The message does not seem to have been assembled with sophistication. In order to take users to the concerned web page, the message makes use of simple HTML code to join up with the URL of the purported security page. In other words, if the mails are read in plain text, the trick is easily uncovered.
The discovery comes in the wake of recent adverse remarks on US politicians for engaging in mass mail operations similar to spammers' campaigns. A recent report from Sophos was critical of both the major US political parties. The agency received a large number of mails on its branches of spam traps. The mails sought support for the coming mid-term elections.
Luis Corrons, the Director of PandaLabs, is of the opinion that the present attack is both technically crude and inopportune for its perpetrators. The detection of the first messages was simultaneous with the closing of polls. The disconcerting aspect of the attack, however, is that voters were sought to be manipulated for political ends. A similar attack technically more refined and happening at the right time could have serious consequences. This is a possibility not to be taken in a light vein.
The development of Spam is taking place in a way that fulfils the needs of fraudsters on the Net. junk mail with advertising content used to be employed with the primary objective of overloading users' mailboxes with advertising. It is now utilized for benefits of a more immediate nature, whether easy money or the political manipulation of voters. In any case, the simple corrective is to stop paying attention to such messages.
From the current attack, it appears that Internet criminals make dynamic use of Spam and tailor it for a host of goals: phishing attacks to obtain private information for online thefts, hiking up stock value, and enlisting new carriers to secrete away money robbed online.
» SPAMfighter News - 17-11-2006
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