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March 10, 2005

A Spammer Lies...Oh My!

Here is a good example of how a spammer hopes to trick the unwary recipient into visiting his spamvertised Web site. The Subject: line reads something like:

Subject: Inquiry Response

The aim, I believe, is to make the recipient believe that this message is in reply to some inquiry that the recipient made. The From: field, however, contains just an email address at a non-descript domain (in fact, it's not even registered as I write this).

Curiosity (which, as Colonel Potter once noted, "KO'd the feline") leads the recipient to check the message (in a safe way, I hope). It's a short message, beginning:

Thank you for visiting our website.

And then a spiel about how great the shopping experience is at the site, with a URL to get you there. If you take the spammer at his word (a huge mistake), you may wonder if you actually visited the site previously, and click on the link.

By that point, the score is

Spammer: 3 You: 0

The spammer scored three points by

  • Getting the message into your inbox
  • Getting you to open the message
  • Getting you to visit the spamvertised site

If the mailer is paid by the visit, you've just put some change in the spammer's pocket so he'll know to keep doing it to earn some more. But even an unpaid Web site hit (as recorded by the spamvertised Web site's server) gives the spamvertiser hope that the spam is working by driving traffic to his site.

What's worse, since you don't know who this guy is or what's at the other end of that link, you might alternatively find your computer open to all kinds of nastiness (spyware installations, in particular). Upon visiting that site with an unprotected and unupdated PC, your final score may be -10. Or -100 if the spyware gets your user IDs and passwords to various accounts.

Let's not reward the liars. ZERO RESPONSE 'em.

Posted on March 10, 2005 at 01:50 PM