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 at FCW.

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, 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 or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.

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