Spam Gallery–Diliver Your Package

A colleague and I were talking at lunch recently about spam and how clever spam and phishing attempts are getting.  But still, there is still so far to go.  One of the biggest failures of spammers is their sheer stupidity.  If they’re going to use a template from a well-known company, why do they insist on changing the wording of the email?  These people don’t have a grasp of the American English language, much less what professional business correspondence looks like.

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Starting with the misspelling in the subject, the horrible grammar continues throughout the message.  The point of the email though, is to inform that one of their trucks “is burned tonight”.  This is not a typical business email.

And this spam email suffers from the same problem as every other one.  How did you get my email address? How do you know the package is mine?  I have to assume that people believe that everyone just knows your email address somehow.  Anyone sending you a package seems to implicitly know your email, since UPS and FedEx are sending me package delivery failure email notices all the time.

Spam Gallery–Traffic Violation

The Spam Gallery is a series of posts that give examples of spam messages, explaining telltales signs of how they are spam.

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I received a series of these emails, as usual with slightly different wording.  The email subject, street name and date varied between the messages.

This has the usual signs of spam: no personal information provided, somewhat unusual language  (“sanction and fine”, “camera shot”), sender email address is not from a domain that suggests an official law enforcement company, and a single available action – opening the attachment.

Some things you would need to ask about the email:

  • How did the “violation center” get my email from my license plate?
  • How do you pay the fine when there is no payment address
  • And most importantly, why is the attachment named “cumshot”?

Maybe the email will catch some people out of curiosity.  Even if you know it’s fake or you know it’s not you, you’re still curious as to what the attachment is.  There’s nothing to be gained by opening any attachment from anyone you don’t know.  If someone walked up to you on the street, handed you a USB drive and told you to run whatever program is on that drive, would it be any more logical than opening an attachment from a stranger?

My, How Big You’ve Grown

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There used to be a time when SQL Server was a database engine.  Setup of the product was easy.  You told it where to install, then you set up the service accounts.  Over time, the feature set of SQL Server grew and it became more of a suite of products.  This involved some more installation steps with more information to be gathered.

Somewhere around 2008, a significant change occurred with the SQL Server setup.  It involved pre-install checks, rule checks, confirmations, and other stages that significantly slowed down the install process.  What used to be a two minute wizard is now a process that can easily consume 15 minutes.  Add to the mix the growth of the feature set of SQL Server and the full install could take hours.

Following along the left of this post is a screenshot of the setup process.  We have three rule checks, one before you start, one after choosing the features to install, and one after you configure the features you want to install.  For my install, I chose “All features with defaults” thinking it would be the fastest and easiest.  Nope, I still had to run through all the steps.

The most annoying change to the install process is the rule checks.  Even if everything checks out, you still have to click Next on the wizard.  If it’s all good, why do I need to review it?  As mentioned before, this happens three times during installation.  It’s almost as if the setup program is saying, “Look at how hard I’m working.  See, I made you a big list of everything I did.”  It’s like an employee that isn’t confident of his work and has to document everything he does to justify what he’s done.

The feature growth of SQL Server has become outrageous as well:  Analysis Services, Reporting Services, Distributed Relay, Failover Clusters.  I would be very interested in seeing if SQL Server Express is selected more often just because the feature set is more realistic for most projects.

I am also curious to see if this post’s text is longer than the installation steps for SQL Server.  And I even tried to be more verbose so I could fill space.

And as it turns out, I didn’t write enough and the next post continued right next to the image.  I guess that’s a slight issue with the WordPress theme template.

Spammers Getting Angry

There has been some spam going around for quite a while with an infected zip file attachment sent under the guise of being explicit photos found of you or your girlfriend.  The email subjects and bodies had many variations, but were all pretty much the same.  Some samples:

FW:Why did you put this photo online?

Hi ,

I have a question- have you seen this picture of yours in attachment?? Three facebook friends sent it to me today… why did you put it online? wouldn’t it harm your job? what if parents see it? you must be way cooler than I thought about you man :))))

and

Hey ,

But I really need to ask you – is it you at this picture in attachment? I can’t tell you where I got this picture it doesn’t actually matter… The question is is it really you???.

and

Hey ,

I got to show you this picture in attachment. I can’t tell who gave it to me sorry but this chick looks a lot like your ex-gf. But who’s that dude??.

The emails are somewhat casual, friendly, surprised, or impressed.  But recently, these emails have tried a different tactic, fear and anger.  Look at some of the new messages:

These pictures should be taken down immediately.

Sorry to disturb you …
Why did you have to put these photos online? All the hell is gonna break loose now don’t you understant? Take them down immediately! Don’t tell me you don’t know what photos I’m talking about! Check attachment!

This escalated to:

The criminal investigation agains you has started. Grave privacy violation is a serious thing.

Sorry to disturb you …
Why did you try to break into my FB??? This is the reply from FB support in attachment they idendified you as an attacker who tried to steal my password! Do you know that this is crime actually??

and

You’ll reap just what you sow! You’ll be really sorry about what you’ve done to me.

Hate to bother you …
Do you know who posted these photos online?? This is strange cause there’s your FB acc there. Why did you do it and how did you get my photos?? This is a crime actually do you know?? I put one photo in attachment. We have to clear this thing or else I’ll have to contact my lawer!

Other subject lines:

Let’s put this behind us once and for all  I know you broke into my email.
The police investigation is under way now. You’ll be really sorry about what you have done.
How can you be so cruel to me? I’ll have to react and destroy you.
You can’t say I haven’t warned you  now enjoy the consequences.

While it could be understandable that if written in anger, the email composition and grammar would be terrible, which is normally a giveaway for spam.  But like most spam, these emails play off of curiosity, even if you know you’re not the one the attacker is looking for.  Who wouldn’t want to see the picture that’s gotten the author so upset?  The new tactic is to get the recipient in a defensive or worried state so they confirm that it really isn’t them involved in the fake incident.