Hallelujah! Spam Now Offering Salvation

London, 18 November 2004. In addition to the traditional sales pitches for Viagra, Rolex watches and new mortgages, email users are now being offered spiritual salvation via spam. MessageLabs, the world?s leading provider of managed email security services to business, has spotted an emerging trend for unsolicited email containing religious content. In recent days the company has intercepted a number of ?spiritual spams?, and researchers have found other examples on the Internet.

Spiritual spam varies in nature and does not always try to sell a product or service to its intended recipients. In one of the examples computer users are urged to accept God and are given a prayer that can ?save you or someone that you love?. In another – a possible variation on the well-known Nigerian scam – the sender seeks a ?better Christian individual? to receive $18.6 million dollars for religious purposes.

Spiritual spam example:

Subject: Only believe

Body text: Eternity is a really long time.If you or someone close to you has not accepted God please do so tody [sic].

The following prayer can save you or someone that you love.

Say, “Oh God, save my soul. I’m so sorry that I have
sinned against you, but I have come home. I will
serve you, Lord, the rest of my life. Deliver me
from all my sinful habits. Set me free! I do believe
Jesus died on Calvary for me, and I believe in His
blood, that there is power in His blood to wash away
all my sins, all my sins!” Say, “Come into my heart,
Jesus; come on in, Jesus. Come on in!”
If you meant it, He has come. If you meant it,
Jesus is yours. Start reading your Bible, pray daily
and believe that somebody’s listening;

His name is Jesus.

Although not all of the spiritual spam is malicious, the examples are indicative of how varied the content of spam has become. With the festive season approaching, the company believes that more spammers could take advantage of the impending celebrations ? making the impact of spam on companies who only use desktop or gateway products even more pronounced.

About MessageLabs

MessageLabs is the leading provider of managed email security services to businesses based on market share, according to a Yankee Group Security Solutions & Services Report, February 2004. The company offers industry-leading managed Anti-Virus, Anti-Spam, Image Control and Content Control services to more than 9,000 businesses around the world to combat email threats before they reach corporate networks and without the need for additional hardware or software. Powered by a global network of data centres spanning four continents, MessageLabs scans millions of emails each day on behalf of clients such as The British Government, The Bank of New York, Bertelsmann, CSC, Diageo, Orange, Random House, SC Johnson and StorageTek. The service is also available through more than 600 channel partners, including BT, Cable & Wireless, CSC, IBM, MCI and Unisys. For more information on MessageLabs, please visit www.messagelabs.com.

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