SuperBowl Spam - What’s the purpose?

Published by rich on Sunday, February 3, 2008 - 20:57:31

Just today I got four pieces of strange email regarding the SuperBowl.

From: “Justin —” <>
To: <>
Subject: Eli has been lucky Brady will rule
Date: Sun, 03 Feb 2008 13:04:30 -0500
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain;
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

The Giants do not have a chance.

I can’t make heads or tails of this one.

The segment of garbage almost looks like it’s supposed to be Javascript or something - but the message was in plain text format. I actually changed a few random bits of it - just in case it was some kind of malicious code. Perhaps it’s a failed attempt to infect recipients with a virus or worm.

Alternately, this could be another case of “empty spam” - sent by spammers working to confuse anti spam software so users will get their email sent during future spam runs. Empty spam may also result from zombie computers who for some reason never got the actual message content to email out.

My favorite theory is that these messages are similar in nature to stock spam. Maybe spammers are really trying to convince recipients that the Giants are going to lose the SuperBowl.

In reality though, the spammer thinks the Giants will win. If an adequate number of recipients who participate in online gambling believe the spam - it might drive down the odds on the giants winning - giving the spammer an opportunity to buy in cheaper than he otherwise would (and make more money).

While betting online is illegal in the U.S. - many people do it anyways. There are also “prediction markets” like Intrade - or TradeSports that let users buy contracts on future events in an apparently-legal fashion.

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