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Spam Government Security The Military Politics

Spammers Announce World War III 334

Posted by timothy
from the now-that's-not-cricket dept.
schliz writes with the stub of a disheartening article at IT News: "Hackers are deluging web users with malware-laden spam claiming that World War III has started following a US invasion of Iran. Security experts warned [yesterday] that spam emails with subject lines including 'Third World War has begun,' '20000 US Soldiers in Iran,' and 'US Army crossed Iran's borders' have been intercepted. The emails contain links to a malicious webpage that displays what appears to be a video player showing the mushroom cloud of a nuclear explosion."
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Spammers Announce World War III

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 10, 2008 @05:57PM (#24144011)

    I can tell from the text and seeing quite a few spams in my time.

  • Breaking news! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigstrat2003 (1058574) * on Thursday July 10, 2008 @05:58PM (#24144015)
    This just in: malware propagators have learned that sending a mass e-mail that will grab the attention of anyone who reads it is the best way to spread malware. More at 11.
    • Re:Breaking news! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pitchpipe (708843) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @06:07PM (#24144195)
      Yup. At least they're doing something new and interesting instead of trying to enlarge my P3N!$, or send a high ranking official in Nigeria my money. I hate spam as much as the next guy, but a least this is fucking different.
      • Re:Breaking news! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @07:34PM (#24145361)

        This isn't new or interesting -- it's a classic pump and dump, most likely on the price of oil.

        (1) Buy oil futures
        (2) Pump spam/disinformation about a US military strike in Iran.
        (2a) Do this when US/Israeli officials are making strong statements
        (2b) because Iran has just tested some missiles
        (3) Watch the price of oil go up 4-5% in a day http://www.bloomberg.com/energy/ [bloomberg.com]
        (4) (Sell your oil futures at a) Profit!

        Yawn . . .

        • by LandDolphin (1202876) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @08:14PM (#24145763)
          That's why we need to get the Government out of the Economy. Things like that would not happen in a free market!
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by inkyblue2 (1117473)

          oil futures aren't exactly a junk stock. good luck making an impact on those prices with a spam email campaign. there's a reason they usually target little stuff you've never heard of.

    • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @06:35PM (#24144653) Journal
      This just in: The US and its allies, having established the capacity to censor the entire middle east during the recent destruction of undersea cables, is now sowing misinformation across the internet coupled to a malware payload. Billions of emails sent in this fashion will create enough noise to render all information that doesn't come through official highly suspect.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        This just in, the US invades Iran with 12,000,000 troops and nuclear bazookas. Click here to see exclusive footage!

      • More than likely, it is just a shock type of attention getting mail. However, what if it is state sponsored spam by another country.
        Obviously, there are countries out there that would like the US&As reputation damaged, and this may help do that. There are countries with states sponsored hackers, trying to hack US government/Pentagon computers, so why wouldn't they also attempt psychological damage as well?

        If you here rumors, over and over again about someones behavior, then you might start to think th

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by mortonda (5175)
        I think Iran would be well aware of an attack, what with all the bombs going off... ;)
  • How the hell... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HerculesMO (693085) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @05:58PM (#24144017)

    Did spam make it to the front page?

    It has to be a really slow news day if we get an article explaining what is in specific pieces of spam.

    I'm waiting patiently for Slashdot to post the Nigerian folks that always email for the millions they have to give away. Because you know -- that is real news. For nerds. Stuff that matters.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Michael O-P (31524)

      Seriously. This is a routine virus, and a routine social exploit. This doesn't even qualify as news that doesn't matter, because then it would have to be news.

    • by myCopyWrong (1310641) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @06:03PM (#24144131)

      Be sure you filter out any email about Iran [slashdot.org] to help out Uncle Sam. Oh yeah, buy war bonds and get back to wark.

    • by urcreepyneighbor (1171755) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @06:13PM (#24144297)

      It has to be a really slow news day if we get an article explaining what is in specific pieces of spam.

      I'm a fan of the subjects. Here's a handful I've received recently:

      • Satify your spouses bed needs easier
      • Obama found dead in shock accident
      • shaman like skills
      • Love package at a low price
      • Please your lassie like never before!
      • Girls will be shocked at your new size
      • Bang her till she passes out
      • Have the pecker of her dreams
      • Natalie Portman shaves again
      • Bomb her womb from your huge cannon!

      It's basic marketing / copywriting.

      • by ScentCone (795499)
        Here's a handful I've received recently

        Can't believe you've missed out on this gem:

        "Speed up your nightclub successes with a realistic diamond-studded Rollex"

        I've blocked about 20,000 of those in the last 24 hours.
      • by Klaus_1250 (987230) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @06:27PM (#24144499)
        Natalie Portman spam ... you lucky bastard.
      • by Dogtanian (588974) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @06:32PM (#24144577) Homepage

        Natalie Portman shaves again

        I'm glad to hear that, I never really liked her with the beard.

      • by Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @06:35PM (#24144639)
        • Bomb her womb from your huge cannon!

        I've never seen that one before -- and it's simultaneously the funniest euphemism for that I've heard in a while, and the most shockingly wrong way to put that!

        • Re:How the hell... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by DarkOx (621550) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @07:34PM (#24145367) Journal

          The most invoative one I saw slip by my filter recently was:

          Increase the effectiveness of your copulation organ

          I found this troubling in that the only word I could safely blacklist on our corporate mail filters is probably

          copulation

          I can't imagine anyone except maybe the HR department needing to send work related message with that word in the subject, and even then I can't imagine it would be hit our public MX.
          If copulation could be eliminated then blocking a spam like this will only be possible via the statistical analysis of the entire message; sure this entire specific subject might be filterable but not the individual words.
          Unless something is a miss in the headers its going to get by.

          It made me wonder if the doom and gloom folks might be correct in that SPAM will make traditional mail realy useless. Sadly SPF and related methods are not an option as we just can't count on our customers to implement it and risk not being about to exchange mail with them. Sure if a problem is discovered whitelists can be used but by then you may have lost an account.

          The other interesting thing is that would anyone educated enough to have the vocabulary to required understand that subject be ignorant enough to respond? I know the economics of SPAM are such that even if 1 in a million people bite, its worth it but as that first number approches 0 its gotta stop being worth while somewhere.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 10, 2008 @08:25PM (#24145871)

            The other interesting thing is that would anyone educated enough to have the vocabulary to required understand that subject be ignorant enough to respond?

            An interesting question, undoubtedly the forte of many an erudite scholar, but by this point in your post I was far to enthralled by my quest for illicit viagra to ponder its myriad complexities.

          • by zobier (585066) <zobier@zobi e r . n et> on Thursday July 10, 2008 @11:32PM (#24147685)
            Just another thought, what if they were to start using marketing buzzwords like "Total interactive throughput"? Not only could they bypass your filter but most executives wouldn't be able to tell it from legitimate communication.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by inkyblue2 (1117473)

          the most shockingly wrong way to put that

          yeah, cannons don't shoot bombs.

      • by theantipop (803016) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @06:48PM (#24144777)
        My spam is praying on my low self-esteem. Here's a couple I received in the past week:
        • What a stupid face you have here
        • You look really stupid

        *sigh*

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by girasquid (1234570)
        I started up a twitter account for some of the weirder ones I got: http://twitter.com/spamtitles [twitter.com]
      • by wild_quinine (998562) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @07:22PM (#24145217) Homepage
        My favourite spam ever came on a real stinker of a day at work. You know the kind, nothing goes right, people fuck you over, you're in work all day to come away worse off than when you went in... It was that sort of day. Then I got this spam, which simply said:

        'Louder screaming is only the beginning'

        That may be the one and only spam that made my day better.

      • by FilthCatcher (531259) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @08:22PM (#24145839) Homepage
        • Reserve in us a means for increase of the member and you quickly will achieve desired result.
        • Make an impression of successful person wearing expensive looking watch.
        • Negroes admire with the of the size - we will surpass them! - not sure whether I should be amused, bemused or deeply offended - probably a combination of all of the above.
        • Say goodbye to your diseases!
        • Increase Your Penis Width (Girth) By upto 20%.
        • Be the master of the universe, with a huge broadsword in your pants?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ponraul (1233704)

        Then, I take it you're a big fan of Spamusement [spamusement.com].

  • Hmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by Aussenseiter (1241842) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @05:58PM (#24144041)
    World War III is starting? Oh god, I still haven't received my check from that Nigerian prince! And where's my viagra?
  • Repercussions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheMeuge (645043) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @05:59PM (#24144059)

    I wonder what the possible effects of a coordinated disinformation attack of such nature would be, if it managed to deliver said news to a large segment of the world's population (that have access to email). If such an act was coupled with a successful hacking operation on even one of the major news network's websites, serious consequences may erupt.

  • by mzs (595629) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @06:01PM (#24144077)

    I simply deleted it, just like all the other spam. About once or twice a month I see a clever newish kind of spam subject. Tell me again why this particular spam meme hit the homepage of /.?

    • Easy (Score:5, Interesting)

      by geekoid (135745) <(dadinportland) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Thursday July 10, 2008 @06:05PM (#24144167) Homepage Journal

      this is is particularly eye catching, given current work events. Since it is different, many people will click on it anyways.
      I know some people who I will be sending an email to about this story so they don't click on it.

  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Thursday July 10, 2008 @06:01PM (#24144081) Homepage Journal
    Doesn't spam generally imply that something is being sold? Granted, this unsolicited email could be a way for the spammers to recruit systems to their bot-nets to push out more spam, but there's no indication in the summary that there is any actual attempt to sell something here.
    • What makes you think that bot-nets are designed to just push out more spam? Encryption crack much? Because with the kind of horsepower the world's largest botnets have, they could be very effective for such a job.
    • by ScentCone (795499) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @06:30PM (#24144539)
      Doesn't spam generally imply that something is being sold?

      Bot nets are used to push out more malware-pushing content, the better to grow the bot net. These can be used very effectively to extort cash from web site operators by means of a site-debilitating distributed denial of service attacks. Many bot nets are used to try hugely random (and somewhat successful) SQL injection attacks from all sorts of random IP addresses, the better to target specific users of specific web sites with JS-based malware iFrames, etc. The days of just trying to get you to buy something are ... quaint, now. The good ol' days.
    • I think SPAM is best defined as any email you receive that you don't want and was sent without your specific permission. The intent of the email is irrelevant.

      I've sent SPAM on behalf of a government agency before (coerced by management after weeks of resistance) and all they wanted to do was give people information they didn't want about lead paint poisoning. AOL blacklisted us as SPAMmers and they were right to do so, even tho their actual motive was just to charge us money to deliver email.

      Another good e

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The standard definition of spam is "unsolicited bulk email". Remember, it's about consent, not content.

  • Google could help (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Like their "report phishing" email flag, a similar "report virus/trojan link" button could help a lot of people, tie this to their badware project and testing the reported site (if x number of users report the same mail)
    and it could do a lot for cutting down bot traffic targeted at GMail users
    takes me 2 seconds to check a mail (they are easy to spot over the Viagra/Penis spam) call it "distributed malware reporting"

    nearly everyday i get multiple emails with a provocative title that contains a link leading t

  • by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Thursday July 10, 2008 @06:02PM (#24144111) Homepage Journal

    Not with a bang but a can of luncheon meat.

  • GWASTED (Score:5, Funny)

    by Stanistani (808333) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @06:04PM (#24144145) Homepage Journal

    This gives me a new hope.

    Now we can divert some of the resources from the Global War On Terror (GWOT) and fight the Global War Against Spam, Terror, & Erectile Dysfunction (GWASTED).

  • Fools (Score:5, Funny)

    by eln (21727) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @06:06PM (#24144181) Homepage

    WWIII isn't scheduled to begin for another two weeks, and it's going to involve a fake attack on the US by "Iran" (actually the CIA) followed by a massive "retaliatory strike", not an invasion by any US forces. Can't these spammers get anything right?

    • by geekoid (135745)

      It's nice to see you post kere Mr Cheney..or maybe I should just call you dick.

    • by cstdenis (1118589)

      Worked for them on 9/11

    • Re:Fools (Score:5, Funny)

      by n dot l (1099033) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @06:37PM (#24144665)

      No, no, no. Two weeks from now Europe, Russia, and Central Asia unite and declare the second Soviet Union. Then the CIA (which is secretly a branch of the KGB) sends secret agents to hijack the International Space Station (secretly insured by the guy that owned the Twin Towers) and crash it onto their own headquarters. After that, Canada, the USA, Mexico, and (just because it'd be weird) Chile unite and invade Iran, at which point the Chinese (who are secretly controlled by New Zealand) nuke us. Then we nuke them. And then the Russians nuke Australia, just for good measure.

      In the mean time, Charlton Heston (who secretly isn't actually dead) has somehow gotten into a light-speed rocket, and...

      Did I miss anything? Oh right, the Antichrist. Well fuck him, this conspiracy theory is already full. Besides, nobody likes Dick Cheney anyway.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Okay, this is actually kinda funny. But why would this be modded insightful? I mean seriously now.
  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @06:08PM (#24144211) Homepage

    It's amazing how people can be tricked by something that is on its surface so laughable that it should be dismissed outright!

    After all, how could World War III possibly have started when World War II hasn't even ended yet?! Just because there's no obvious troop movements or visible battles doesn't mean that merged ghosts of Churchill and Roosevelt along with their dark ally Zombie Stalin don't yet wage war against the forces of Hitler's Head and the demon-animated armor of Hirohito! No, you can see the effects of this conflict every day in the fluctuations of the price of milk to the record of the Essex cricket team. So don't believe anything you read about some ludicrous World War III until you see the purple flag of the Undying Allies flying over the White House, indicating our inevitable triumph!

    After that, though, it's fair game.

  • massively stupid (Score:2, Insightful)

    by inode_buddha (576844)
    Jesus H Christ, whoever originates this kind of spam is just colossally stupid, for political reasons. No, its not funny. and yes, I'm a USian.
  • I heard they've got heat rays and chemical weapons (and other weapons of mass destruction).
  • by adamstew (909658) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @06:12PM (#24144285)

    I wonder if this has something to do with the penny stock spams...you know, spammers send a bunch of emails promoting a penny stock so the price goes up, then they sell the stock while it's up...

    Perhaps, they bought a bunch of oil, sent out a spam about Iran being invaded to get speculators to buy oil, driving the price up, and then cash in?

    They finally filled in the ???

    1. Buy oil
    2. Send out Spam saying Iran has been invaded.
    3. Speculators buy on the "news" (formerly ???)
    4. Profit!

    • by Gat0r30y (957941) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @06:33PM (#24144599) Homepage Journal
      On a serious note i saw a cool article at physorg yesterday about speculation in the oil market [physorg.com]. From the article it would appear there is a major oil bubble about to burst. Though I'm certainly no expert in the matter.
      I suspect they just figured a way around some spam filters for a little while. Most anything novel should get by for a while, once it starts getting flagged it should dissipate.
      • I foresee this major oil bubble serving an extremely useful purpose if Iran really were attacked very soon.

        Let's assume the expected oil price minus all the speculation, is per IEA calculations, around $70-80/barrel. If Iran gets attacked, it is likely they will attempt to block the Straits of Hormuz by destroying passing oil tankers. If they succeed, it will at a stroke remove 60% of world oil supply from the market. The shock of that happening would cause the oil price to spike to well over $200/barrel,

  • by tOaOMiB (847361) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @06:13PM (#24144289)
    Slashdot posts article containing the words "World War III" in it's headline, hoping this attracts attention. Once users click to "read more" they are ambushed by trolls masquerading as insightful or funny comments, but in fact containing insidious messages....
  • WWIII (Score:2, Informative)

    by Orion Blastar (457579)

    Sadly enough WWIII is called the War on Terror, and it has already started since September 11, 2001.

    So the next war will be World War IV, which a BBS software package WWIV was named after. :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 10, 2008 @06:15PM (#24144323)

    One if by Spam,
    Two if by sea.

  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @06:18PM (#24144371)

    Crap, that's where I keep all my stuff.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by H0p313ss (811249)

      Crap, that's where I keep all my stuff.

      Tell me about it, I just finished renegotiating my mortgage!

  • by clampolo (1159617) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @06:51PM (#24144821)

    Everyone who is a part of a botnet should have their computer confiscated. They are too dumb to be allowed to have one.

    We can easily wipe, the machine's hard drive and then install a new OS and you have a computer to give away to schools.

    Two problems solved at once: one less idiot on the net and a free computer for a school.

  • by EdIII (1114411) * on Thursday July 10, 2008 @07:10PM (#24145083)

    A world war is a war affecting the majority of the world's most powerful and populous nations. World wars have spanned several continents, and lasted for years.

    World War III is just not going to happen anytime soon, at least a non-nuclear war. If it is nuclear than everyone is fucked everywhere and it's a moot point. We may go in and destroy Iran, but that is hardly going to escalate into WWIII. Just look at the countries and continents involved.

    Antarctica and the Artic: Hmmmm, last the checked the Intuit peoples and the Penguins did not have some sort of secret alliance and hidden military. Probably not a player in WWIII.

    Australia: Kind of remote. Might contribute troops but hardly the location for WWIII or the political force to cause it either.

    Greenland: Too busy with awesome blond chicks, high tech data centers, and hot spas. Not interested in causing it and no one is interested in attacking it.

    North America - Canada: Highly doubtful. If anything, they will be an innocent bystander that gets hurt when the US gets attacked. Won't start WWIII either.

    North America - United States: Oh, the US will be involved. Bet your ass on that. Could start it too most likely if we have another idiot child president. Will it host the war on its own continent? Probably not. Getting troops and equipment to the US is a heck of a lot harder than Red Dawn made it out to be. Candidate for World War III.

    North America - Mexico: They have problems of their own right now with the drug cartels and political scandals. Don't have anything military wise capable of waging a strategic war away from their own continent. No one is interested in attacking them, and they don't seem to be interested in attacking anyone else either.

    South America - All: Way to involved in their own affairs and completely lack any military infrastructure capable of operations away from their home soil. Other than having a country with a president that likes to verbally attack the US, not much to see here. Who wants to invade and attack them? I dunno either.

    Europe: Look at the countries that make up the EU. They don't want to start anything anywhere. They are far more diplomatic about dealing with the middle east than the US is. I doubt they will be invaded and I don't see them causing World War III either. Took a major chill pill after World War II. They are on break, and don't even get me started on the French.

    Eastern Europe: Still getting on their feet IMO. Lack the resources or the will to put up much of fight for anything. I know there are some tensions between some east european countries and Russia regarding missile defense, but not very likely to start World War III.

    Japan: Too busy making and selling entertainment equipment, cars, and used womens panties. They figured out the best way to wage war was with skyscrapers and advanced technology in products. Next.

    Africa: Yeah, right. They are too busy being butt raped for resources by the rest of the world and dealing with chronic disease and gang rapes of women. Next.

    South East Asia: Not very likely. I can't see any country being invaded or doing the invading.

    North Korea: Will launch a single attack and promptly be totally destroyed within days. Everybody will ignore the rotting corpse and nobody will come to their aid, certainly not China. China would only object if there was a nuclear response to North Korea which is not totally necessary.

    India: More interesting. If anything happens they might take the opportunity to attack Pakistan since they just love each other.

    Russia: Who are they going to fight? US? China? Not until resources become absolutely critical. We got the missile defense deal going, which does remind me of the Cuban Missile crisis, but actuall

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Look at the countries that make up the EU. They don't want to start anything anywhere. They are far more diplomatic about dealing with the middle east than the US is. I doubt they will be invaded and I don't see them causing World War III either. Took a major chill pill after World War II. They are on break, and don't even get me started on the French.

      More like they were castrated after WW/II by American Troops being stationed throughout Europe to prevent them from starting yet another war. There is no qu

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by smoker2 (750216)
        You are a complete tosser. The US troops were left in Europe to hold the USSR back, not to prevent another war in Europe. In fact Europe was to be the battleground.
        Firstly, if each EU nation decided to turn on the American troops based in their countries, what are the US going to do ? Bomb their own troops ? (probably, going by past events).
        Secondly, how much does the US spend on its military every day ? And how much of that is spent to maintain defences on foreign soil.
        Seems like the EU gets the best deal
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          The US troops were left in Europe to hold the USSR back, not to prevent another war in Europe. In fact Europe was to be the battleground.

          It's true that much of the reason was to hold the USSR back (though, let's not forget that Eastern Europe is still Europe), but after two world wars, do you really think the nature of the countries of Europe suddenly turned into peaceful loving countries? Hardly. The United States might've primarily been talking about holding back the USSR from aggressive expansion (whic

      • by maypull (845051) on Friday July 11, 2008 @04:40AM (#24149541)

        There is no question WW/III would have happened if the United States hadn't taken over nearly all the military operations in Europe.

        "No question"? Really? [citation needed].

        Perhaps you're thinking about the Morgenthau Plan [wikipedia.org], which was a primarily economic effort (which only lasted a few years) to "industrially disarm" Germany.

        To the best of my knowledge, the primary reason for the stationing of US troops in Europe was to expand the US sphere of influence here (yes, I'm European) as a bulwark against the Soviets -- with whom relations were already beginning to deteriorate at the close of the war.

        And no, I can't be bothered to dig up references for that, which I suppose makes me a hypocrite but hey, technically I should be working! :)

  • The Link (Score:3, Funny)

    by HaeMaker (221642) on Thursday July 10, 2008 @07:15PM (#24145141) Homepage

Often statistics are used as a drunken man uses lampposts -- for support rather than illumination.

Working...