Time travelling spam tops e-mail inboxes

Time travelling spam tops e-mail inboxes

Summary: In a simple twist of tactics, spammers are sending large amounts of unsolicited e-mail that has been date stamped one month in the future -- in order to guarantee their messages remain at the top of the recipients' inbox.This twist is another advancement in the ongoing battle between spammers and the anti-spam filtering firms.

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In a simple twist of tactics, spammers are sending large amounts of unsolicited e-mail that has been date stamped one month in the future -- in order to guarantee their messages remain at the top of the recipients' inbox.

This twist is another advancement in the ongoing battle between spammers and the anti-spam filtering firms.

Joel Camissar, country manager at Internet security firm Websense, said the change in tactics may be a simple one, but it has proven to be effective.

"I am surprised at the simplicity and that it hasn't been tried before, but it is often the simplest ways of beguiling users that can be the most effective," Camissar told ZDNet Australia.

In this latest attack, a large number of e-mails -- in this case mainly advertising weight loss products -- each seemingly from a different sender and with different, yet related, subject lines, take the top spot in the recipients e-mail inbox.

According to Camissar, this trick is likely to confuse a significant number of people.

"Especially if you have your dates configured in American format -- as so many companies do," he added. "[The recipient] may not even realise why they stay at the top of their e-mail inbox."

Phishers spoof MySpace "friend request" e-mails
In other security news, users of MySpace have been targeted with phishing e-mails that seem to be from another member of the social networking site asking to be added as a "friend".

Camissar said that MySpace has increasingly become a target for phishers: "This is one we have seen quite a lot.

"If you follow the link it takes you to a spoof MySpace.com log-in page; it then captures your account information and then forwards you to the real MySpace.com Web site," he said.

Topics: Collaboration, Security

Munir Kotadia

About Munir Kotadia

Munir first became involved with online publishing in 1998 when he joined ZDNet UK and later moved into print publishing as Chief Reporter for IT Week, part of ZDNet UK, a weekly trade newspaper targeted at Enterprise IT managers. He later moved back into online publishing as Senior News Reporter for ZDNet UK.

Munir was recognised as Australia's Best Technology Columnist at the 5th Annual Sun Microsystems IT Journalism Awards 2007. In the previous year he was named Best News Journalist at the Consensus IT Writers Awards.

He no longer uses his Commodore 64.

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2 comments
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  • Chronological order - am I eccentric?

    I read my emails in chronological order, so if one is dated a month ahead I reach it last. If it is spam I delete it. I don't see the advantage in future-dating. I get a few that have really old dates on them, so I have to hit the back button to find them. Same delete button though.
    anonymous
  • Not new at all

    This isn't new by any means, since as long ago as 1997 I've been getting emails from past 2000 past 2010 I've even been getting a bunch of erotic span dated 1969. I've had some cunning enough to be a few days ahead but not more than what might be reasonable.

    One reason why there may not be a ton of mail like this is that it makes it easir to group it all together and clean it out, second is that if its more than a day or two ahead of current time then it could be marked as spam and delivered to spam box.
    anonymous