Did I call this one or not? Here’s a post I put on Facebook a couple of days after the big dust storm in Phoenix:
And here’s a screenshot from today’s Wonkette (click on the image to read the full article):
As I opened my email inbox this morning I thought, “Gee, it’s been a long time since anyone has sent me interesting spam.” And lo & behold, there waiting for me was a messaged titled “Atlanta public school exams fudged” sent by a fellow named Cpt. Stephen Pyros. What the hell, I’ll just quote the whole thing here:
email@example.com wants to share this mobile article: http://m.usatoday.com/article/news/49145192 with you.
The corresponding www article is: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2011-07-06-Atlanta-schools-standardized-test-cheating_n.htm
Additional comment is:
Hi, Cpt.Stephen Pyros
I know you will be surprised to read from someone relatively unknown to you. My name is Cpt. Stephen Pyros , a member of the U.S. ARMY USARPAC Medical Team, which was deployed to Iraq.
I will like to share some highly personal classified information about my personal experiences and roles which I played in the pursuit of my career serving under the U.S 1st Armored which was at the fore-front of the war in Iraq.
For now I will hold back certain information for security reasons until you have found the time to visit the BBC website stated below to enable you have an insight into what I intend sharing with you, believing that it will be of your desired interest one-way or the other.
Also, I will appreciate a response from you after visiting the above website to enable us discuss in a more clarifying manner to the best of your understanding. I must say that I'm very uncomfortable sending this message to you without knowing truly if you will misconstrue the importance and decide to go public. In this regards, I will not hold back to say that the essence of this message is strictly for mutual benefit between you and I and nothing more.
I will be vivid and coherent in my next message in this regards, meanwhile, please send me an email confirming that you have visited the site and that you have understood my intentions? I will await your thoughts via my personal email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Well, actually, once you get past the links at the top, it’s a common variation on the Nigerian scam: the sender needs your help to get a pot of money out of some foreign hellhole. In return, he’ll share some of the money with you.
What makes this spam different and interesting? The subject line and opening links, which were meant to make me think the sender wanted to share some secret information about cheating in public schools, a topic I blogged about recently.
Interestingly, he sent his spam message to an email contact address I use on Facebook, not the one I use with this blog, so perhaps he just read about my recent blog post on Facebook. But whether he read about my interests on Facebook or my blog, it’s clear he took the trouble to learn something about me and then target me individually.
That’s kind of scary.
© 2011, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.
2 thoughts on “Haboob & Eggs with Spam”
I thought the Christian name was ba-ba-ba-loo. Anyhow, if we have to name dust storms, outside of the perfectly good English phrase “dust storm,” that is, I vote for the French “mistral” which is a kind of dust storm so bad that it gets past barred, shuttered, and otherwise weather-proofed doors, windows, and even the boards of the house.
Otherwise, you’re probably right, just more fun to say ha-boob on television.
Spear-phishing, not spam. What you have received is an example of a new scam called spear-phishing, because of its targeted appearance. Spear-phishing targets individuals based on their online history such as browsing, blogging, or email. It is specifically intended to appear as if it comes from someone you might know (or, in worse cases of email hacking, a friend or acquaintance). Notice that the message comes from someone you might be expected to know from your military experience, as well as the Atlanta schools scandal. The trick to these messages is to read the links very carefully. Note that the link reads “http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2988455.stm.” The correct BBC address is http://www.bbc.com.
Now, if you were really high up in the public or private sector, the term would be “whaling.” To quote Dave Barry, “I am not making this up.”