Government Shutdown

Spammers take advantage of shutdown

E-mail circling the globe

The government shutdown isn't all bad news. If you're a spammer, it's an opportunity to ratchet up annoying, opportunistic, possibly virus-infected mass messages.

The first spam messages that play on the government shutdown are making the rounds, although they're not specifically targeting federal employees or .gov email addresses. According to an Oct. 2 post on the Symantec blog, shutdown-related spam has begun hitting the security company's probe network.

"We have observed that most of the spam samples encourage users to take advantage of clearance sales on cars and trucks," Symantec employee Anand Muralidharan writes in the post.

An example posted on the Symantec blog site carries the head-scratching – and not very imaginative -- title "Half off our autos for each day the US GOVT is shut down." The sketchy grammar might lead one to think that prices will be cut in half each day the partial government shutdown continues. More likely, the price would be cut once and not raised until the government returns.

Symantec said the spammers use a random email header in an attempt to get around spam filters.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer covering acquisition, procurement and homeland security. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.

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