Pretty Girls Harvest Email Addresses

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos advises a reality check

 
Romantic content is increasingly being used in social engineering schemes as it provides sufficient leverage to motivate victims into performing the malicious tasks associated with unsolicited emails. In this context, SophosLabs experts have warned users of the phenomenon in a press release posted on the company's Website presenting examples of two spam campaigns apparently generated by pretty girls.

Sophos has described various malicious purposes at the basis of such spam emails. The most evident one is to determine the victim to issue a response and therefore confirm an active email address that will thereafter be bombarded with junk mail. But Sophos also warned the users that they might be drawn into a "relationship" with an automated electronic entity designed to build an environment of trust that would be exploited for financial gain.

"Some people need a reality check, and take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror - is it really likely that an unknown young woman would see them on the web and be moved to make contact? And even if it was, would this be the sane behavior of anyone you would ever want to meet?," said . "If you do reply to a message like this the danger is that you will not just be confirming your email address is 'live', but also you could be pulled into a circle of deception designed to separate you from the contents of your wallet."

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By    22 Aug 2006, 14:26 GMT