Practical Technology

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The Rise of Personalized Spam


In just today’s e-mail, I’ve received offers of “$8.500.000,00 (Eight million,Five hundred thousand United State dollars)” and similar garbage. Like most such spam it includes a link that, were I to follow it, leads to Windows malware. But, I also received an e-mail informing me that a real law firm was suing me because I’d libeled someone in one of my recent stories. That got my attention. There was one problem: It wasn’t real. It was a personalized spam message.

I didn’t fall for it because I know how law firms work inside and out thanks to my lovely wife, and if someone were suing me, the first I’d hear of it wouldn’t be via e-mail. Had I clicked on the link, which also looked real, the Web site would have tried to give me a case of Windows malware. Since I use a Linux system, the attempt did nothing but harmlessly bounce off my desktop.

Now, generic personalized spam is old news. You know the drill as well as I do. You get some trash message about cheap Viagra or some relative of a third-world dictator wants to give you a wheel-barrow of cash that uses your name. This was far more than that though.

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