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Don’t Let Spam Score a Goal in your Mailbox


It’s been a week since the 2011 edition of the oldest international soccer tournament in the world began, held this year in Argentina. I’m talking about the Copa America. This event is hosted by a South American country every three or four years during the summertime and lasts almost a month. Some say that this tournament is the American equivalent of the UEFA Euro Cup.

South American families and friends hang out together to enjoy the games, and users look for news and the latest results over the Internet. Just as with other important sporting competitions, Symantec has been observing spammers taking advantage of this event to announce multiple unsolicited offers and discounts that are purportedly linked to the soccer tournament.

The spam sample below invites users to visit a Web page that is offering medical equipment. The site also offers more products and discounts that are valid only during the tournament time.

Translation – Subject: Celebrate the Copa America

Below is another sample regarding a book offer. In this one, the spammer includes the “Copa America Argentina 2011” logo in the body of the message. The book contains soccer statistics updated to include the FIFA World Cup 2010, but does not have any information related to the Copa America 2011.

Translation – Subject: Records of Soccer’s World 2011

All of these samples include phrases such as “Copa America 2011” and “Copa America Argentina 2011” and related images or logos. This is done because of the fact that nearly anything soccer-related in South America will easily get attention, generating more visits on the spammers’ websites and probably a higher demand for the products they are offering.

As mentioned, we have already observed an increase in these types of unsolicited offers since the tournament began. Symantec strongly recommends that users always confirm the legitimacy of offers received in their mailbox before any links are clicked. Be very careful when the offer involves online transactions, and have security software installed (such as Norton Internet Security 2011 or Symantec Endpoint Protection). Also, make sure that your security software is kept up to date in order to prevent any external attacks that can compromise your personal and financial information or that of your business.

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