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Stock Spammers Pump It Up With MP3 Files

Spammers involved in pump-and-dump scams touting penny stocks now are using MP3 music files to lure investors, a switch security experts say is the latest tactic designed to sneak the messages past spam filters.

According to e-mail security provider MessageLabs, the spam run began late on Oct. 17, with roughly 10,000 messages blasted out per hour. The e-mails include semi-random subject lines that matched the title of the attached MP3 file, which plays a short 20-60 second message touting microcap shares of a company called Exit Only Inc.

An audio sample of the MP3 files is available for your listening pleasure at this link.

Keep in mind that it's never a good idea to open attachments that arrive in e-mails you weren't expecting, even MP3 files. Some of the attachment names associated with this spam run include "elvis.mp3," "britney.mp3," and "beatles.mp3."

A graphic depicting the various bit rates of the audio file being spammed out in MP3 form.

Atlanta-based SecureWorks says the messages are the latest tactic of criminals who control millions of compromised PCs infected by the Storm worm. SecureWorks says the various MP3s are all basically the same content, but recorded at slightly different bit rates in order to make the recording unique enough to prevent easy filtering at e-mail gateways.

Exit Only Inc., by the way, is a parent company that owns text4cars.com, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based subsidiary that matches car buyers and sellers via cell phone text messages.

"We hired a team of experts to look into this and found that it all started with a phantom server in St. Petersburg, Russia, that bounced it off servers in Argentina, and from there it started populating computers in North America via the Storm worm," said David Dion, chief executive of text4cars.com.

Dion said he alerted Pink Sheets and the Securities and Exchange Commission, but both said they could do nothing for his company. So far today, 100 shares of the company's stock have traded hands, a $40 value.

"I'm mad as hell, and have really no idea why my company got targeted," Dion said. "I hope if someone is going to make an investment decision in our company that they do it on the merits of the company itself, not on some spam e-mails that are being sent out without our permission."

By Brian Krebs  |  October 18, 2007; 1:48 PM ET
Categories:  Fraud , Latest Warnings , Safety Tips  
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Comments

CAN ANYONE EXPLAIN HOW THE MOTOROLA Q PHONE HAS GONE FROM $100 TO ITS NEW PRICE OF $399 -- PLUS A 2 YEAR CONTRACT ON VERIZON WIRELESS.

IS THIS +++++ FRAUD ++++ OR JUST PLAIN OLD RACKETEERING ???

Posted by: brucerealtor@gmail.com | October 18, 2007 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Relevance?

Anyway, does anyone really open a MP3 and listen to it from some yahoo they don't even know, and then buy the stock touted? Frankly, that is a new level of sucker-ness, maybe Darwin in action for people who actually buy these stocks...

Posted by: DBH | October 19, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

It's okay. People who get suckered in with MP3's in spam email to spend their life fortune deserve to lose their money.

We don't need laws or new rules to protect them, as they deserve to lose every penny. They are too stupid to have money. Once would wonder how they got the money in the first place.

Let's solve actual problems instead of worrying about protecting what are, arguably, the dumbest people in America.

Posted by: Skeptic | October 20, 2007 7:02 AM | Report abuse

@Skeptic: stupid is an art form. If you want to punish stupid people there is no better tool than Windows. But that does not mean that because there are stupid people you want to punish there must be Windows. My suggestion is we gut that POSOS and find some other way to give the stupid their comeuppance.

Posted by: Rick | October 23, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Rick,

Correct me if I am wrong, but I am sure that there is an MP3 player for every OS widely used in homes and offices. A Mac or Linux user is perfectly capable of listening to this MP3.

Which, BTW, sounds like a computer voice from a bad movie.

Posted by: Solo Owl | October 24, 2007 1:02 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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