Scribblings from the hard shoulder of the Information Superhighway

The Spam Song

A friend once observed that there’s a big bad world ‘out there’ and much of it seems to be emailing her – and there’s no denying that spam is a nuisance.

More recently I’ve noticed an increasing number of spams that use social engineering to try and get you to open their spam. They purport to be from Amazon, DHL, an airline or whatever – all inviting you to confirm or query a transaction by opening a zip file.

A zip file that contains some very unpleasant malware – it infects your PC and hold you to ransom to buy a particular ‘cure’ – and the online forums that propose alternate ‘cures’ simply compound the infection.

I know of three people who have fallen foul of this ‘Ransomware’ two had to completely rebuild their computers while a third spent a whole day wrestling with the infection before finally beating it – and he’s a serious geek!

So, while the whole spam, social engineering and malware issue is far from funny, I received an email this morning that caused me to laugh out loud – something that happens a lot less frequently than messenger and text messages would have you believe.

Basically, I received an email – supposedly from Amazon.com – however the spammers have mixed things up. The text of the email reads :

Dear taxpayer,

The Federal income tax is a progressive tax, meaning that the more you earn, the higher your tax rate. Your tax rate depends not just upon your taxable income, but also upon your filing status (single, married filing jointly, etc.).

You’re in a higher tax bracket because:

– your annual income for the last tax year has increased.

Please review your annual tax report immediately at:

(Please find attached file – tax report.zip)

So, Amazon is sending me tax advice now? I don’t think so!

Incidentally, and at the risk of being labelled a geek, SPAM originally had nothing to do with Monty Python. It’s an acronym for Sequentially Processed Automated Mail – okay so I worked in the IT department of a bank for fifteen years – Bank Statements were probably the first SPAM and probably about as popular as the current junk spam.

One Response to The Spam Song

  • Yeah, this stuff sucks. As a person who has to deal with this as well in a corporate environment – the mantra is ‘don’t open ANY email unless you are specifically expecting it.’ Easier said than done!

    Anyway, I’ve found one of the better programs for this to be malwarebytes. Run it in safe mode if need be, but its pretty good at removing this ransomware. (Don’t ask how I know!) Also, good backups are a must!