Spammers Trigger Your Behavior By Using Just The Right Words

Spam is not just spam – there’s plain old sales spam; malware spam; phishing spam; targeted attack spam …….

As I write this, I can’t help but remember Bubba, in the movie Forrest Gump, describing shrimp – “There’s shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich ………” Spam is kind of like Bubba’s shrimp – you can do a lot with spam.

While spam may often appear to be a chaotic mess – don’t believe it. Spammers are smart – very smart. Spam, at its core is a form of advertising; advertising that works.

Words, in good advertising, pack a punch. And, spammers are increasingly relying on “power words” which pack a punch. Power words designed to impact, to provide impetus for action,  and not surprisingly, to engage your subconscious.

Symantec Hosted Services security experts, have detected patterns in spam word usage; identifying the most commonly used words in specific types of spam, as the following graphics illustrate..

Sales spam word usage.


Malware word usage.


Phishing word usage.


Targeted attack word usage.


For additional information on this issue, read Symantec’s Mathew Nisbet’s Blog post here. Reading this type of article is certainly educational, and can be a major step in expanding that sense of threat awareness that active Internet users’ require.

About Message Labs Intelligence:

Symantec’s Message Labs Intelligence is a respected source of data and analysis for messaging security issues, trends and statistics. MessageLabs Intelligence provides a range of information on global security threats based on live data feeds from our control towers around the world scanning billions of messages each week.

About Symantec:

Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organizations secure and manage their information-driven world.  Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. More information is available here.

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