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 senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


Featured

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

  • Comment
    Pilot Class. The author and Barbie Flowers are first row third and second from right, respectively.

    How VA is disrupting tech delivery

    A former Digital Service specialist at the Department of Veterans Affairs explains efforts to transition government from a legacy "project" approach to a more user-centered "product" method.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.