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Obama Beats McCain In Spam Landslide 154

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the well-isn't-that-unfortunate dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The New York Times runs an article about the spammers' choice of presidential candidate. From the article: 'According to Secure Computing Corp., spammers were nearly seven times more likely to slap Obama's name in the subject line than McCain's during September. The bulk of Obama's lead in the spam wars came from a massive blitz early in the month.' Secure Computing released additonal numbers for the past weeks, and McCain was able to close the gap in the latest spammers' poll."
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Obama Beats McCain In Spam Landslide

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  • This is stupid. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jaysyn (203771) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (todhsals+nysyaj)> on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @08:52AM (#25298279) Homepage Journal

    This is such non-news. Does anyone really care who spammers use in a subject line for spam?

    • by phorm (591458) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @09:07AM (#25298411) Journal

      Seems to me that the spammers must be working on a basis of whatever words most likely to interest the reader into clicking further, so it's perhaps an indicator of how interesting "person X" is overall at a given time. I've seen various celebrity names pop up, and I believe that Obama's did awhile back before the newer spams containing Palin's name in conjunction with various sexual keywords.

      • by Jaysyn (203771)

        I'm analyzing spam headers is part of your job description, otherwise you have way too much spare time :D

        • by Jaysyn (203771)

          Gah! That should read: "I'm hoping analyzing spam headers".

        • Depends on the SPAM header, but if we're getting a lot of any particular SPAM variety, then adding a rule which will tag+filter/trash it without killing off legit mail is part of the job.

        • by jrp2 (458093) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @10:42AM (#25299593) Homepage

          "I'm (hoping) analyzing spam headers is part of your job description, otherwise you have way too much spare time :D"

          I know I look at my spam folder and could come up with similar "analysis" without spending much time or effort. It is usually pretty obvious what the trends are.

          Most of us know that spam filters are not perfect, so we scan our spam folders for false positives. Every now and then I open one up, mostly just curious as to what the scam is.

          A few months ago I opened one up. It was an email confirming my registration with some dating site. I was perusing it, looking for the scam, when I noticed it had the last 4 digits of the credit card used to open this account. Strangely, it was the same as my credit card!

          I checked my bank website and sure enough, somebody was using my credit card. They foolishly used my email account, and I use unique email addresses when I buy things online. I canceled my card immediately and contacted the company associated with that email address.

          I convinced them it was likely real and suggested they contact a security firm. Sure enough, a few days later, the FBI called and thanked me for being persistent and asked for any more info I had. They indeed had been hacked (SQL injection), about a year earlier, and about 90% of the credit cards used at that site over the last year had been canceled due to fraud.

          In my case, I was able to cancel my card within hours of it being compromised, and about $1000 worth of fraudulent purchases wiped off my card with almost no questions. It would have been a lot uglier and more hassle if I did not catch this until the statement came. I now get a daily statement in email and scan it thoroughly.

          Bottom line, a little basic analysis of your spam is a good idea. Doesn't have to be your job to find benefit. To the best of my knowledge nobody got busted, but that gaping hole was fixed, and that company now uses a trusted service for their shopping cart application.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        is the amount of spam email I get that is blatantly pro-Obama propaganda.

        Either his campaign is hiring them, or someone who supports him is spending a HELL of a lot of money (and violating campaign finance laws) hiring them.

        I don't vote for spammers or corrupt chicago crooks. Therefore, I won't vote Obama.

        • You too? (Score:2, Informative)

          by Moryath (553296)

          I tried to submit stories on this MONTHS ago, after the Obama campaign somehow got my email and started sending me their constant spam messages. Content directly traced back, emails all about their campaign stops, from "David Plouffe", "Michele Obama", links to their blog entries on the official Obama site, etc... but the headers most DEFINITELY through known spam houses and zombie spam networks.

          For some reason, Slashdot wasn't interested that the Obama campaign does this. I'd think it should be a major con

          • Although I wouldn't put it past anyone's campaign to do these kinds of things, it's quite possible that there are simply a large number of loose cannons in the spam world who want to do Obama a favor by spreading his name around. Let's face it, spammers and their targets are not the sharpest knives in the drawer so the spammers are likely to think they are helping their candidate even if they're not, and as to intended spam targets, well, they're an oblique proof of evolution in that apparently it sometime

          • by AioKits (1235070)
            I signed up for Obama campaign email notices to my personal mail and I don't notice them spamming me. I mean, it has picked up since the debates started and the election gets close. I can't really call it spam because the most I've seen is one email a day for three days then they're quiet again until another issue pops up.
            • Small problem:

              I NEVER signed up for Obama campaign mail. In fact, after they repeatedly ignored my unsubscribe demands, I called them via voice to demand they remove my name and email from any of their lists (I don't need my work email clogged with their spam, I have enough trouble sorting what comes through that's actually relevant).

              I can guarantee you, I've been receiving the same ones you are. The reply-to address changes names from "Barack Obama", "Michele Obama", "David Plouffe", etc, but the underlyin

              • by sumdumass (711423)

                Wasn't there some canned spam act that made a place you can complain to about things like that?

                When dealing with spam, the remove me from your list option is generally not a good Idea though. I doubt this applies with the Obaba spam but in general, they know your address is good after asking to take you off the list which makes it more valuable when they sell it to other spammers.

                • by Moryath (553296)

                  I usually ignore those "take me off your list" things. I figured the Obama campaign would be a different story once I verified that it was actually going to their servers and not elsewhere.

                  Silly me - I found out how honest Obama really is (read: not at all) the hard way.

              • Im not suprised you have trouble sorting what comes through, if you cant manage a simple delete *@barakobama.com rule with your email client of choice. personally i signed up to his spam service but as soon as i unsubscribed they stopped bothering me .

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Zymergy (803632) *
            Do you live in Missouri?
            I have a hypothesis: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&q=Break+in+Republican+laptop [google.com]

            Another hypothesis could be that people are signing up their "friends" (often inadvertently, but sometimes on purpose). This was really popular back in college (as I recall) by signing up known person's emails as a prank.
            Remember at the Dem's convention they were collecting cell phone numbers of the numbers of family and
            • by Moryath (553296)

              Nope, not Missouri, and I'm not a member of the Repuglican party either. I don't have any friends who pull that kind of prank (they're much more the "replace toiletries with something amusing" types). I also keep my work and private email separate, and my relatives (even grandparents) know better than to include me on any chain or "blanket the entire address book" emails.

              The interesting part is that my private, work, and even my "this is probably going to get spammed so I'll only use it when I'm doing a wei

              • by SWPadnos (191329)

                [snip]

                Interesting link on the voter registration fraud. I knew about a lot of his bad connections, but that one's even worse than most.

                Note that basically every site that talks about how bad ACORN is is a site with a known conservative bent. No, I haven't read every site out there, and I don't plan to. I found information on many sites by checking SourceWatch [sourcewatch.org], a site that shows the ties that various online and print news outlets have. They do note that they're a progressive organization, so at least they're being honest. Of course, they also use facts and don't really seem to put much opinion in their synopses. They also cite sources,

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          How is this a Troll? Because the AC has the gall to say something negative about Obama?

          Last time I checked, "Freedom of Speech" actually meant something in this country--regardless of political preference.
          • by deroby (568773) <deroby@yucom.be> on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @11:02AM (#25299861)

            Oh come on,
            I've gotten plenty of Obama or/vs McCain mails too and I have a .be email address for gods sake.

            These mails are NOT targeted, they are just sent out at random based on some lousy email-list; So yes, that implies they are coming from some spammer/bot-net.
            However, receiving a mail from candidate X does not necessarily mean that X (or his spin-team) asked given spammer to send these out. Jumping to that conclusion is just bad-mouthing IMHO. In fact, I find it much more likely that
                * the spammer is simply sending out spam to un-train the filters
                * the spammer prefers candidate Y and tries to make X look bad by drowning people in annoying X-spam, whether Y paid given spammer for this or not is impossible for me to find out.
                * the message contains some malicious payload

            Frankly, I don't care, it's going straight to the recycle bin anyway.

            • by sumdumass (711423)

              Actually, they are targeted. Just not very well.

              For the entire run up in the election starting with the primaries, Obama put a splash page on their site's main page and if you didn't look at the enter site in print about the size of the copyright notice in the lower corner, you couldn't get in without giving your email address. Unfortunately for you, someone probably entered your email address instead of their own and your getting targeted information from an ass-clown who was specifically harvesting email

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ikkonoishi (674762)

        They probably just scrape headlines and look for common words that are proper nouns (capitalized) hoping that these will attract interest. Obama has had more hype than McCain for the most part.

        http://www.google.com/trends?q=obama%2C+mccain&ctab=0&geo=US&geor=all&date=2008&sort=1 [google.com]

        Most likely because, like Palin, he entered the national spotlight suddenly and so people aren't as familiar with him as they are with McCain.

      • by xant (99438)

        Or they're working on the basis of what words you're already receiving in your email. I can tell you, since I signed up the day his website went online, that Obama's campaign sends a buttload of email. I actually read or skim most of it (I really did ask for it, after all), but the spammer is hoping I'm as interested in their junk as the real deal.

        What I don't understand is why spammers are too stupid to make their emails look legitimate. It's been years since I can remember receiving even a single spam

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by AvitarX (172628)

      It is at least as relevant as the Halloween mask race. Well it could be. That is why it is interesting.

    • Lets see how many mod points I get for my post subject.
  • 419 (Score:4, Funny)

    by InspectorxGadget (1230170) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @08:56AM (#25298311)

    But who do the 419 scam jerks want?

    • Re:419 (Score:5, Funny)

      by sesshomaru (173381) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @09:14AM (#25298471) Journal

      Dear American:

      I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.

      I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.

      I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.

      This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.

      Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.

      Yours Faithfully Minister of Treasury Paulson -- The Latest Nigerian 419 Scam Letter [sillivant.com]

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        I'd love to help, and I will do so as soon as my transfer fees are processed in order to help this friendly nigerian prince recover his lost millions. I know get-rich-quick schemes don't usually work, but I have a feeling this one will make me rich... and QUICK!
  • Duh! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @08:56AM (#25298317)

    Clearly there's no point in the spammers forging the send as McCain, he openly admits he doesn't know how to use email!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ionix5891 (1228718)

      they already do [slashdot.org]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      John McCain knows how to use email. He doesn't because injuries he sustained as a POW in Vietnam make it painful for him to type.
      • John McCain knows how to use email. He doesn't because injuries he sustained as a POW in Vietnam make it painful for him to type.

        "I don't e-mail, I've never felt the particular need to e-mail," Senator John McCain

        Reference: here [nytimes.com]
        • ...and why would he, when he has people hired to do that sort of thing?

          Oh, and the NY Times is stupid... why do I need a free login to see their article?

  • by dslmodem (733085) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @08:59AM (#25298343) Journal
    We have observed that negative posts on Obama have been deleted on Google, Yahoo, and various news/blog sites.
    • Google is evil! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dslmodem (733085) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @09:03AM (#25298371) Journal
      A few more words... On youtube, Videos against Obama posted by Hillary/McCain supporters or independents have low click counts and posts against Obama are frequently missing. This begins the age of internet Big Brother!
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        A few more words... On youtube, Videos against Obama posted by Hillary/McCain supporters or independents have low click counts and posts against Obama are frequently missing. This begins the age of internet Big Brother!

        Hint: Using the N word will get something censored.

      • oh iiiiis it. (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by unity100 (970058)
        people willingly omitting slanderous and unfounded crap about other people from their websites has been here since the dawn of internet.

        and the person you label as 'big brother' openly declares support about net neutrality and lectures about what freedom and equal opportunity means to internet and how it is tied to network neutrality on his website and policies.

        dont spurt crap without knowing about what you speak about next time.
        • Re:oh iiiiis it. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Bob-taro (996889) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @10:22AM (#25299327)

          and the person you label as 'big brother' openly declares support about net neutrality and lectures about what freedom and equal opportunity means to internet and how it is tied to network neutrality on his website and policies.

          Politicians preaching one thing and practicing the exact opposite has been around since the dawn of politics.

      • I started noticing a certain "bug" on youtube where certain clips would be stuck at 200-300 views, yet have more ratings and comments than the view count. It first popped up on Ron Paul and other political videos. The bug would last long enough to keep the clip out of any most viewed category on the main page.

        I've been using youtube since its inception and have only noticed this "bug" on political clips. It would be great if someone could share an experience of this "bug" on a non-political clip.

        It is also

  • No surprise (Score:5, Funny)

    by bugeaterr (836984) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @08:59AM (#25298351)

    Spammers peddle in CHANGE (in size) and HOPE (for a lower mortgage rate).

  • Spammers know that as long as politicians back the opinion that the public can't take care of themselves, and the public believe this opinion, there will never be any incentive for the ISP or email provider to more thoroughly filter spam. Instead, any legislation against spammers will be at the federal level, and thus ineffective against those overseas. The spam will continue to flow.

    Then again, McCain is for the same nanny-state, so this explains nothing!
    • by Don_dumb (927108)
      I think you misunderstand the article.
      This is not that the spammers have backed Obama with their support. It is that more spam delivered has the string 'Obama' than 'McCain' - it is a crude (but independant) measure of the popularity or current awareness of each individual.
    • by KGIII (973947) *

      Then again, McCain is for the same nanny-state, so this explains nothing!

      Wait... What?

      • I like this explanation of their differences:

        Obama promises to hold a gun to your head. McCain promises to let you choose what brand of gun he holds to your head.
  • Meaningful? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by I.M.O.G. (811163) <spamisyummy@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @09:10AM (#25298431) Homepage

    So thats the trend, but how is it meaningful?

    If the spammers are doing it, I assume thats because the majority of their target customers are aligned similarly with Obama. Makes sense, since Obama's online presence is considerably more progressive than McCains... Still doesn't say a whole lot about anything.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Klaus_1250 (987230)

      Still doesn't say a whole lot about anything.

      Isn't that what politics is all about?

    • by Hognoxious (631665) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @09:40AM (#25298721) Homepage Journal

      I assume thats because the majority of their target customers are aligned similarly with Obama.

      It could be the opposite - "OMG exclusive video of Obama eating babies !!!!eleventyone".

      Disclaimer: Obama does not eat babies. But I heard he huffs kittens.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rohan972 (880586)

      If the spammers are doing it, I assume thats because the majority of their target customers are aligned similarly with Obama.

      but I thought only stupid people responded to spam. What could this mean?

  • Obvious Link (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kingrames (858416) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @09:17AM (#25298501)
    Obama is the candidate of choice by nearly 90% of the rest of the world. It's no secret that if you want people to read your spam, you'll put his name in the header. He's popular.
    • by eagee (1308589) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @09:34AM (#25298665)
      What are you saying, that the election is really a big popularity contest?! I feel so disillusioned.
      • by arielCo (995647)
        No, he's saying (implying) that spam is a big popularity contest. In the same way that there's more Britney than say Sarah McLachlan in spam subjects, spammers apparently hope Obama will pique the interest of more foo... naive people worldwide.
    • by jandersen (462034)

      Obama is the candidate of choice by nearly 90% of the rest of the world. It's no secret that if you want people to read your spam, you'll put his name in the header. He's popular.

      That's as may be, but spammers in general are simply idiots who try to exploit people that are even dumber than themselves. I think you are overestimating their intellectual capabilities by quite a wide margin.

      IMO it is more likely that these spam campaigns are yet another way of trying to piss off voters with the candidate named in the subject.

      • by Tenek (738297)
        Spammers aren't idiots. They're making money by sending millions of e-mails to people who just might buy something. Most don't, but the cost is almost zero so it doesn't matter. Unethical, maybe, but not stupid.
      • by shaitand (626655)

        Spammers are consistently evading some of the brighter technical minds who are constantly trying to trace and/or filter their crap. They are unethical, greedy, and overall evil but they are hardly stupid.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by penguin_dance (536599)

      Or...maybe it's because they view Obama supporters as more gullible and likely to respond?

      *ducks*

    • by dslmodem (733085)
      90% of the rest of the world might hate USA as well. Look at those guys who pretended to by Canadians when traveling abroad!
    • So why doesn't he run for president of the rest of the world? I mean it isn't America, but I've heard that at least parts of it are nice.

  • Who cares who spammers want to be President? In a perfect world, their right to vote would be forfeited and they would be in a 10'x12' cell.
    • by Jaysyn (203771)

      Way to RTFA.

    • by lilo_booter (649045) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @09:36AM (#25298687)

      In a perfect world, their right to vote would be forfeited and they would be in a 10'x12' cell.

      But in the real world of economic uncertainty, can we afford to give them that much space? Might be better to squeeze a few in there...

      • Yea, 2 x 2 is plenty of room if you shackle them vertically...spammers do not deserve the best accommodations.
        • by rohan972 (880586)

          Yea, 2 x 2 is plenty of room if you shackle them vertically...spammers do not deserve the best accommodations.

          How about we pack them in like sardines ... every second one upside down?

    • by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @09:43AM (#25298763) Homepage

      Who cares who spammers want to be President? In a perfect world, their right to vote would be forfeited and they would be in a 10'x12' cell.

      This has nothing to do with who spammers want to be president. This has to do with whose name spammers think will get somebody to click on a link.

      My estimate is, they're probably right. Obama supporters will clilck to see what their candidate is up to, and Obama opposers will click to see what their opposition is up to.

      McCain, on the other hand, usually isn't up to anything much. I doubt either side would be easily lured into clicking a link, because he's pretty boring.

  • You put Obama in the subject line for the same reason you you use pictures of attractive women to sell products. Obviously men want to look at hot women, but marketing research shows women are more drawn to, and persuaded by, pictures of attractive women. Not for any sexual reason but due to competitive pressures women feel.

    Right wingers can't get enough Obama email. Claiming he's a Muslim, talking about how much he hates America, tying him to terrorists, questioning his ethnicity, etc. I know because

    • On the other hand, the lefties are so excited to finally have another candidate that can appear both intelligent AND human, after Kerry and Gore, they can't see/hear/read enough about Obama.

      Appearances aren't everything.

  • ...nominated Giant Tallywhacker?

    rj

  • Spammers want to reach as many people as they can, and if they think Obama is ahead in the polls (whether he is or not), then they'll pick his name for the subject.
  • Rep. Ron Paul is still not impressed. ;-)
  • Because it is easier for them to spell.

  • by gsmalleus (886346) on Wednesday October 08, 2008 @11:28AM (#25300217)
    Every once in a while I like to read the subjects of mail in my spam folder for my own amusement. My favorite so far was what seemed to be a McCain pro-war spam crossed with a Viagra ad.

    McCain says "I want to invade your vaginas"

    • by KGIII (973947) *

      I dislike spam but most of the time I don't see it. Sometimes I get drunk and stupid and actually go to their links or respond and find their contact information only to send them long diatribes about any ol' subject. Sometimes they're worse than my drunken /. posts.

  • by Hasai (131313)

    Looks to me like the spammers think Obama supporters are more gullible than McCain supporters. . . .

    . . . . Either that, or McCain supporters are less apt to have email accounts. . . .

    There; I've been an equal-opportunity insulter, don't you think?

    ];)

  • Just have a look at intrade.com. You can buy shares on the probability of Obama vs. McCain winning. The contracts on Obama now are statospheric. Want the best barometer? It is how people bet their money!
    • by sumdumass (711423)

      Vegas stays in business because the majority of people lose more money then they win. I'm not sure that watching people going into debt is a good barometer.

  • After receiving my first unsolicited spam from the McCain campaign I used the unsubscribe link. Sure enough, the next spam arrived a couple weeks later.

    To date I have received four unsolicited mails. I have used the unsubscribe process with each and every one and have even sent an email to the campaign through the contact form all to no avail.

    I can't be the only one out there is experiencing this problem?

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