Beware of 419 scam emails delivered via CNN’s “Email This” feature
Email spammers often try to take advantage of current news and to impersonate legitimate news sites (usually CNN) in order to bypass spam filters and convince recipients to click on a malicious link or open a malicious attachment.
In a recently spotted spam run, 419 advance fee scammers have taken this approach to another level: they are misusing CNN.com‘s “Email This” feature.
As an added bonus, they are tying the request (made allegedly by the “financial minister of Syria”) with a legitimate article about the volatile situation in that country:
To do this is easy as inserting the email of the victim, the email of the sender, copy-paste the scammy text into the appropriate form, and solve the CAPTCHA:
Perhaps they even managed to get their hands on a tool that fills out part or all of these fields automatically.
“This isn’t the first time we’ve seen them abusing a legitimate Web site’s ‘Email This’ feature,” says Webroot’s Dancho Danchev.
“Followed by the most recent abuse of Google Calendar, we’ve also observed 419-ers abusing legitimate Web sites back in 2009 (Dilbert.com and NYTimes.com), and we believe we’ll continue seeing such type of abuse, taking into consideration the fact that 419-ers are constantly seeking for new and pragmatic ways to bypass anti-spam filters.”