Thursday, February 10, 2005

Harry Potter Used In Spam Mailings

The spam community never seems to miss an opportunity to trick unsuspecting users into opening and clicking what most would deem as unwanted mail. One of the more popular ways to trick unsuspecting recipients is by using misleading subject lines.

There have been reported spam "attacks" which feature subject lines about natural disasters, popular entertainers, and of course, the ever present get-rich-quick schemes that permeate inboxes. Keeping with this theme, another group of spam mailings using the upcoming Harry Potter book to trick people into clicking has been discovered.

In other news, with voice over IP becoming a popular medium of communication, malicious code writers have another target for their exploits. Because of the potential threat, a number of security and telecommunications companies have formed a VoIP Security Alliance.

Speaking of security groups, while one is being formed, another seems to be on the verge of collapse. The anti-spyware consortium, COAST (Consortium of Anti-Spyware Technology Vendors), lost another member, further damaging the effectiveness of the group's explicit goal: curbing spyware.

According to, a number of spam emails that have appeared recently use the upcoming JK Rowling book to trick recipients into visiting a "make money fast" scheme. Sophos's global network of spam monitoring stations have sighted thousands of instances of an email claiming to be instructions on how to win a copy of the as-yet-unpublished next book by JK Rowling, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

The emails claim that recipients can get a free copy of the book by clicking on a link, but this in fact takes users to a website offering advice on "free money-making secrets", with no mention of the troubled teenage wizard…

Last week, Harry Potter author JK Rowling warned fans to beware internet fraudsters who were phishing for credit card details by pretending to offer electronic copies of the new book online.

Security Group For VoIP Forms

As voice over IP becomes more and more popular, virus writers and malicious coders have another target to concentrate on. As with most methods of modern communication (think mobile phones), viruses and other types of attacks are becoming legitimate threats to those who use these services.

Because of these threats, a number of telecommunications and security companies are joining forces to promote VoIP security, as well as the types of threats VoIP users can face.

As reported by,

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