The Spam Diaries

News and musings about the fight against spam.
 by Edward Falk

Friday, April 27, 2012

Spam riding the tailcoats of ham

Ham is the term used to describe unwanted email that clogs up your inbox like spam, but isn't strictly-speaking spam.  It typically takes the form of mailing list traffic that you signed up for but can't figure out how to unsubscribe from, or advertising from a company you once did business with online.

For years now, I've been subjected to the occasional bit of ham from LinkedIn reminding me of this or that invite I haven't yet replied to, or a message I haven't read yet.

Lately, I've noticed a fair amount of actual spam coming in designed to look like LinkedIn ham. The layout, artwork, and subject line are similar to the "You have a pending message from X" messages I frequently get from LinkedIn, but the link takes you to a phishing site.

The key signs that it's a fraud are the From: line which is typically gibberish, and the Subject: line which is just a little bit off, but these will likely be fixed as the phishers refine their fraud.  Ultimately, the best defense is the practice you should be using on all emails: always hover over a link before clicking it, and make sure it goes where you think it does.

Be careful out there, you hear?


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