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Brand Name SPAM!
Written by Daniel   
Wednesday, 17 January 2007 06:00
 Spam Hidden in Email Newsletters

JANUARY 16, 2007 | Careful what you read -- spammers are now hijacking legitimate newsletters and electronic advertisements from big-name brands such as the NFL, Amazon, Wal-Mart, eBay, ESPN, US Airways, Kohls, Verizon, and 1-800-Flowers.

"They are trying to mimic a legitimate newsletter as closely as possible, by inserting a single image or a link to one," says Doug Bowers, senior director of anti-abuse engineering at Symantec, which has been closely tracking this growing spamming trend during the past month.

Bowers says he and his colleagues don't have any data on the spammers compromising any machines, but it appears they are using templates to mimic the exact format of these newsletters or e-advertisements. "It seems to be a combination of techniques to sneak through a filter, identifying it as legitimate to confuse the user." Many of the infected newsletters Symantec researchers found read normally at first, and then suddenly pop up with a spammed image.

"One of our researchers calls this 'wait and switch,' where it appears you are looking at a newsletter, but then another [item] appears a few seconds later," he says. One spammed newsletter, for instance, looked exactly like the NFL's fantasy football report -- until, a few seconds later, an ad selling various prescription drugs showed up on the same page....More

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