Latest spam scams use Google, Olympics

Using new techniques to trick users into opening misleading, fraudulent and potentially harmful messages, spammers have recently targeted Google, the Olympic games and US Bank NA, according to SurfControl, a vendor of Web and e-mail filtering software.

"There is greater awareness of the risks associated with spam and e-mail, so spammers must continually create new techniques to trick end users," Susan Larson, vice president of global content at SurfControl, said in a statement. "Companies should be on the lookout for these new techniques and others as they emerge."

SurfControl said the Google scam, discovered this week, appears in in-boxes with the subject line "Google, #1 Search Engine." The e-mail asks users to download the latest Google tool bar to stop pop-up ads and spyware and then directs them to a link to download the tool bar executable. However, this download is most likely a virus-infected file, according to SurfControl.

At least two aspects of the e-mail indicated it was a hoax, SurfControl said. First, the sender address was from an individual, rather than Google. Second, the IP address for the tool bar download matches that of a suspicious Web site that sells "The Essential Underground Handbook," a guide to get-rich-quick schemes and other forms of fraud, according to SurfControl.

SurfControl's research team also said spammers are increasingly embedding images into their messages rather than using HTML, which allows them to work around spam protections that can block HTML-based graphics offered in Microsoft Outlook. And since the text is all part of the embedded image, this techniques also bypasses the text-scanning abilities of traditional antispam filters, the company said.

SurfControl said this technique was found in three spam messages this week, including one that appeared to spoof US Bank as part of a phishing scam.

SurfControl also discovered a scam using excitement around the 2004 Olympic Games to help the scammer circumvent new federal antispam law. With subject lines including "Olympic Games," "Olympic Medals," "ATHENS 2004" and "ATHENS RANKS," the message appeared to provide the latest Olympic medal tallies.

However, directly beneath the tallies was the name of a company "sponsoring" the information -- with a link to an advertisement for Viagra.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Linda Rosencrance

Computerworld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?