Spammers capitalize on Italy earthquake

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As the death toll from the earthquake in central Italy grows, spammers have moved to capitalize on the catastrophe.

“Today, we observed scam emails sent from randomized email accounts with 'Italy quake news' subject lines,” wrote Vivian Ho in a post on the Symantec Security Response Blog."

The subject line of the spam email attempts to be as provocative as possible, to lure victims into opening the message. Some of the subject lines include:

  • “A glance at towns damaged by quake in Italy”
  • “Quake-prone Italy lags in quake-proofing buildings”
  • “A glance at victims and damage in Italy's quake”
  • “Scientist Claims He Predicted Italy Quake”
  • “Italy seeks survivors, prepares to bury quake dead”
However, there is no payload involved.

“Although there are no malicious attachments found in this type of scam,” Ho wrote, “spammers could still validate active email accounts when recipients open their email or system bounce notifications for inactive account lists.”

Despite the long history of such ploys, in which spammers leverage current events to dupe victims, people still fall for them, Ho said.

Central Italy was hit on Monday by a magnitude 6.3 quake. Tens of thousands have been left homeless, with hundreds dead and missing.
 

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