Spam

Anything related to Spam.

Who’s Who phish

And here, I thought I was finally famous.  It’s so disappointing.

I got a “Weekly Follow-up from the National Academic Association.”  I suppose it doesn’t really matter that I’d never heard of them, let alone weekly, because it came from the “Academic Association.”

“Hello Candidate,” it starts, and goes on to tell me that “As the school year opens, the Who’s Who Among Executives and Professionals begin a global search for accomplished individuals in both faculty and administrative roles at post-secondary institutions of learning.”

Could this possibly be a job offer?  They apparently need me to “verify your contact information so that we can properly publish your updated credentials alongside 30,000 of your prestigious peers. Such a listing can only bring you increased visibility and networking opportunities within the scholastic community.”  Only 30,000!  Such a select group!

Alas, when I actually went to the site http://www.wittersphere.info/YM40/53/1338/710177.1/4/13295/1600293/3O80?gy=?qqu06/vc/ld-99505.g78 (tested with a safe browser, but it doesn’t actually seem to be feeding malware) it turned out to be the “International Association of Successful Individuals.”  Therefore, I don’t qualify, but no doubt a number of you do, so I’m letting you know  :-)

All that, and it was just pharma spam?

Got a message yesterday.  It was immediately suspect, since it purportedly came from YouTube, and was threatening that I had sent “the maximum number of messages per day.”  It was also sent to the “-owner” of a mailing list I run on Yahoo.  Of course, I don’t send email through YouTube.

However, since I do have a YouTube account, and just in case there was a mail capability I didn’t know about, I figured I’d better check it out.  Sending through Yahoo is a good form of obfuscation.  I did, eventually, figure out that it came via ThePlanet in Houston (probably a bot infected machine).

I then suspected that it might be some kind of account phishing.  However, when I actually looked at the URL, and checked it out, it seems to have been a simple pharma spam (bounced from a site in France to one in Russia).

All that trouble and obfuscation, just to post pharma spam?  Sophisticated misdirection kits are obviously getting cheaper and easier for the script kiddie level spammers to buy.

Comment(ary) Spam…

I’m not sure why I feel the urge to keep writing about comment spam: primarily, I suppose it’s because I get so much amusement from it (just as well considering how much of it I read when I moderate comments on the ESET blog), rather than because the world is full of bloggers waiting for me to tell them how to recognize it, even if it isn’t apparently posted by someone called nike soccer shoes or where to buy a laptop or even my personal favourite of the moment, rolling in the deep adele. (Well, there went my favourite heuristic.)

Still, I liked the cheek of this one:

“Throughout the great scheme of things you’ll get a B- for effort. Where you actually confused me personally was first on your particulars. As people say, the devil is in the details… And it couldn’t be more correct here. Having said that, let me inform you what did deliver the results. Your authoring is pretty powerful which is most likely the reason why I am taking the effort in order to comment. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. 2nd, even though I can easily see a leaps in reason you make, I am not sure of just how you appear to connect the points which inturn produce the final result. For the moment I shall yield to your point but trust in the foreseeable future you actually link the facts better.”

So much so that I did a quick Google to see how common this particular approach is, and sure enough I found a whole bunch of very similar posts – by similar, I mean the same core text with minor changes such as “the great pattern of things”. Apparently, I’m not the only blogger who tends to assume that if a comment is enthusiastic, it’s probably spam.

Thank you for your constructive criticism, Mr feather extensions online: I like your style. But my absolute favourite at the moment is Fritz, who commented dispiritedly that he is “always a big fan of linking to bloggers that I love but don’t get a lot of link love from”: too bad URLs in comments are stripped automatically, or I might have allowed that one through just to put a smile on your face.

David Harley