Spammers full of tricks, offer no treats for Halloween

Spammers seem to have an uncanny ability to figure out a way to get past our filters – both the ones we put up with our technology and our brains through critical thinking. One of the ways they continue to successfully do so is by staying current – whether it’s the latest news events or simply a seasonal landmark they’re taking advantage of, spammers will try anything to get you to click.

Halloween is no exception. Just like the storefront windows you pass by that are decorated with ghoulish displays and carved pumpkins, spammers are trying to tweak their e-mail messages and web sites to fit mindset of people looking forward to Halloween. The difference is, instead of getting a treat if you investigate further, you’re likely to get some sort of nasty malware dropped on your computer. This blog post by Anand Muralidharan of Symantec Corp. shares some of the security vendor’s findings in its efforts to prevent spam from reaching their clients.


A spam example from Symantec Corp.
A spam example from Symantec Corp.

This e-mail message, fairly elaborate in design, encourages the e-mail recipient to complete a survey in return for a gift card. Parents looking to get their kids into a costume without breaking the budget might just be receptive to such an opportunity. Of course, there’s no gift card to be had or store that you can even buy these costumes from. Just a phishing page designed to steal your personal information.

Another strange phishing attempt highlighted by Symantec promotes a Halloween sale on pharmaceutical products. It seems like a logical leap that Halloween would be an appropriate reason to sell men’s health shoppers more little blue pills, but spammers seem willing to try it.

Here’s some e-mail spam message subject lines that Symantec warns are being used by the real bad guys this Halloween and should be avoided:

  • Subject: Shop for Halloween Costumes Today
  • Subject: Complete the Halloween Survey and Claim Your xxx Gift Card
  • Subject: Halloween treat for your body
  • Subject: Shop Sexy Halloween Costumes  Free Shipping On Orders Over $50
  • Subject: Halloween Special–Up to 85% off Printer Ink and Toner
  • Subject: Shop The Halloween xxx Savings. Complete The Survey Today.
  • Subject: Personalize a Gift for Halloween – Treat Bags, Home Decorations, and More
  • Subject: Shop for new Halloween costumes at a low prices, today



Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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