Pump-and-dumpers move on to MP3 spam

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Oct 18, 2007

Audio files latest stock pushing tactic.

Pump-and-dump spammers have moved on from image spam, PDF spam and Excel spreadsheet spam to try out yet another file type: MP3 audio files.

In pump-and-dump scams, crooks buy up swathes of cheap 'penny' stocks, send out massive advertising campaigns trying to convince recipients that the company is worth investing in, and make money from the increasing price of the shares. As the scam requires gullible victims to actively invest in shares, getting the name of the company lodged in recipients' minds is most important; the message is often as simple as a stock exchange code for the company and a vague hint that it is going to increase in value soon.

As links to websites pushing dodgy goods or malware are not required, a variety of formats are available for the scammers to display their message, get it read by enough people that a few will be foolish enough to invest, and reap their fraudulent profits. Having used distorted images in various formats, including embedding their swirly text in PDFs and spreadsheets, the latest trick seems to be MP3 audio files, spammed out in the guise of tracks by popular musicians. The files in fact contain a voice, described by analysts at Sophos as 'monotone', instructing listeners to invest in a small Canadian web company.

Readers are of course urged to ignore any investment advice received from strangers via unsolicited email. More details of the latest campaign are at Sophos here, with an example of the spammed message available here.

Posted on 18 October 2007 by Virus Bulletin

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