Spammers Develop Interest in Housing Market

In a new report, Symantec has revealed that the new target for spammers is the US housing market. Following the news of the US housing slowdown and the recent interest rate deduction in the midst of falling rates of PDF, image and e-card spam in September 2007, cyber-crooks have started to bank on the US housing market.

Entitled 'The State of Spam in September', Symantec's monthly report traced rising spam level at the Simple Mail Transfer (SMTP) layer in September 2007 with a discernible hike of around 70% in total email against 69% in August 2007.

The report found spam messages expanding in volume in their efforts to capitalize on the confusion surrounding the housing market. The variations included refinancing deals to housing options posing a query about home equities in use. Subject lines varied from "Pay your house in 5 to 7 years" to "Looking to sell your house fast?"

Doug Bowers, Symantec's Senior Director of anti-abuse engineering, commented to DM news dated October 5, 2007 that this is another example showing how hackers are making use of current events to attack innocent users.

The malware messages try to trick recipients into disclosing key personal information relating to name, mailing address, e-mail address and telephone number. The spammers use this information for even more spamming, not to mention the typical fraud activities that the criminals are known to use it for.

Symantec disclosed that in case of image spam, there is a contrasting slowdown believed to be the result of unceasing efforts by security software firms to filter them out of incoming messages. Email clients ranging from online types like Yahoo Mail to desktop applications like Mozilla Thunderbird, by default, stop images in incoming messages from loading.

Criminals are also reverting to the use of plain text or HTML messages incorporating different techniques for more legitimate-looking URLs. Symantec detected spaces added to Geocities URLs to thwart spam filters and JavaScript obfuscation for the URL to appear normal to viewers but like garbage when the source code is checked.

Related article: Spammers Continue their Campaigns Successfully

» SPAMfighter News - 23-10-2007

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