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Spam for the Holidays

New pump-and-dump scheme decks email's halls with holiday-related messages

If your email box seems overly filled with holiday spirit, beware: These little gifts are best left wrapped.

According to reports from security vendor MessageLabs, there is a widespread stock spam attack currently under way that is pumping as many as 300,000 messages an hour across email systems worldwide.

The attack uses Thanksgiving and Christmas headlines to catch the user’s attention. MessageLabs spam filters have caught a wave of spam with headlines like "Early Christmas Gift," "Got your fill of turkey this weekend?" and "Ho Ho Ho" in an attempt to drive people to what is essentially a pump-and-dump scam.

The mails are randomized, listing a number of different reasons to invest in the stock, which makes the spam harder to track and block. Examples include: "The worlds Energy [sic] resources are of major concern"; "A planned media campaign next week will be drawing both investors and brokers to the table"; and "Companies everywhere are seeking to find new ways to reduce energy costs and step out of jeopardy from this economic nightmare."

If you get one of these messages, do not open till Christmas. Or ever.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

  • MessageLabs Ltd.
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