Spam rates steady, as spammers pose as presidential candidates: Symantec

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Overall spam volume stabilized at 78.5% of all e-mail for the second month in a row this February, according to Symantec's monthly spam report.

According to The State of Spam: A Monthly Report March 2008, which tracked spam trends in February, spammers were up to their traditional tricks, placing popular topics in fraudulent e-mails. This month focused on the US Presidential candidates to lure consumers to open their e-mail.

“As we have seen for some time now, spammers are looking to exploit well known brands to attract consumer's attention and today's biggest brands are the presidential candidates,” said Dermot Harnett, principal analyst at Symantec. “It would not be unheard of to receive a legitimate e-mail from one of these candidates, and spammers are taking advantage of this fact.”

In October of 2007 false e-mails pretending to be from Ron Paul hit the scene, but last month saw all of the candidates being falsified. In early February, spammers sent out e-mails pretending to be Hillary Clinton, and in the past couple weeks Mike Huckabee, Barack Obama, and John McCain spam have hit the scene.

In addition to the political themed spam, last month also saw a number of false celebrity-themed spam messages. Messages that claim to have links to videos of Michael Jackson, Heather Mills and Indiana Jones were also popular ways to illicit consumers to give up personal information. This went beyond the US, as Chinese consumers received fraudulent messaging about popular Hong Kong celebrity news.

Spammers also sent false e-mails under the guise of Southwest Airlines, sending offers for free tickets to consumers.

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