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Criminals Organize Spam Attack to Raise Stock Prices

Large number of consumer inboxes tends to be flooded with "pump-and-dump" stock scams infiltrating over years. Security firm PandaLabs has spotted huge amounts of spam attempting to boost sales of stock of a certain company. With an aim to inflate stock prices of this company, the attack is a strategy to keep the prices at the increased level once it has reached that height. PandaLabs found that the attack came in three different phases since November 16, 2006.

Explaining about this type of spam, Director of PandaLabs Luis Corrons says that although the phenomenon to boost stock prices is certainly not new, this particular case has two special features. One, the attack is highly organized monitoring interlink of numerous waves of spam. Two, each of the messages is unique in some way and this is not like the usual "pump-and-dump" practice.

Several financial services provide data, which show that since the distribution of the first set of e-mails on November 10, 2006 the company's stock value have become twice as high from their earlier value. But the later set of spam mails carried declining stock prices.

The messages sent vary from each other in their forms. They differ by the words used in the message text, the color in the background, the subject of the message and even the sender's name. The purpose of designing the messages differently is to escape anti-spam filter conditions.

Luis Corrons further explains that these messages could be very dangerous. It largely indicates that the message creator has purchased the stocks at cheap rates to push up their value and make a quick profit. The danger of these attacks lies in causing a drop in the stock prices in just the same way it pushes them up. If this is used as a tool against a collective of investors or a specific company, it could result in immense loss.

It appears that Internet crooks are using spam to achieve a multitude of objectives like phishing attacks to collect confidential data to commit online fraud; pump-and-dump to increase stock value; or apply techniques to steal money online.

Related article: Criminals Hack With More Evil Tactics

» SPAMfighter News - 11/21/2006

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