SOURCE: BitDefender

BitDefender

February 25, 2009 16:13 ET

BitDefender's Spam Omelette 15 Spotlights "EMAIL" as Top Spam Word in Weekly Analysis of E-Threat Trends

Week 15: "EMAIL" Used in Three Distinct Spam Campaigns

BUCHAREST, ROMANIA--(Marketwire - February 25, 2009) - The word "EMAIL" has been identified once again as the top spam word in Spam Omelette 15, BitDefender's weekly review on spam and the latest industry trends. Spam Omelette is part of MalwareCity.com, which is supported by BitDefender®, an award-winning provider of antivirus software and data security solutions.

In week 15 of Spam Omelette, the top spam words include:

1. EMAIL -- Ranking first in this week's Spam Omelette, the word "EMAIL" has been detected by BitDefender spam researchers in three distinct spam campaigns. "EMAIL" has been identified in unsolicited messages promoting natural weight loss products. The messages feature a simple mail template with no images or links. Users are asked to register for a product trial by sending a message to an included mail address. This type of spam is used to create massive databases with users' mail addresses and private data which then become available for purchase on the underground market.

Other variations of the word have been identified in both Nigerian scam letters as "E-MAIL" and shady loan offerings, where the word appears "MAIL."

2. PLEASE -- Ranking second in Spam Omelette 15, the word "PLEASE" has been identified in messages promoting Canadian Pharmacy medications and supplements. The message includes images as well as a link to a website, which users are instructed to visit if the images in the message are blocked for privacy reasons. The message also includes a footnote with an unsubscribe link, although it has been forged and will not remove users from the spam database, but rather validates user addresses for future campaigns.

3. CLICK -- Ranking third in Spam Omelette is the word "CLICK," which has been detected in unsolicited email messages requesting purchase confirmations for airline tickets. The message contains two images and a link the user is asked to follow if the email will not display the images. The spam campaign is conducted by independent parties using the Hydra Online advertisement network.

4. UND and SIE -- The German words "UND" (meaning "and") and "SIE" (meaning "you, respectfully") have been found in identical proportions but have failed to surface in a screenshot. The words are contained in dummy text inserted in the Canadian Pharmacy message mentioned in Spam Omelette's number two word this week, "PLEASE." Since the Canadian Pharmacy campaign heavily relies on images, spammers have added HTML comments in German text in order to trick spam filters.

5. INFORMATION -- The word "INFORMATION" ranks last in Spam Omelette 15 and has been detected in messages promoting offerings from miscellaneous online casinos. Unlike PokerSavvy, the new spam campaign does not rely on online marketing companies, but rather on mailing lists purchased on the underground market. The unsubscribe link is invalid, preventing users from removing themselves from the spam database.

To read the entire Spam Omelette # 15, please visit MalwareCity.com.

To create Spam Omelette, BitDefender analyzes approximately 7 million spam messages collected through BitDefender's worldwide network of "honey pots." A honey pot is an e-mail address that is only used to collect spam. The large number of analyzed messages and the global distribution of honey pots ensure reliable results.

The resulting map provides visual cues for understanding what the new trends in spam messages are, while providing significant insight to researchers on the current spam campaigns.

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