Spam Exploits War

This is perhaps the most disturbing spam I’ve ever received. It purports to be from a soldier in Iraq who is part of an underground syndicate stealing booty (“consignments”) and selling it on the open market. Maybe they think I’d stow it in the back shed until such time as the killings and day-to-day unrest settles down.

X-Original-To: julian
Delivered-To: julian
Received: from ( [])
by (Postfix) with SMTP id 420AB1E788A
for ; Fri, 23 Jun 2006 16:15:12 -0400 (EDT)
From: Geraldine Marcus
To: julian
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2006 22:13:44 +0200
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary=”d7216c95-7775-4ca0-b28b-b596ba047aa3″

This is a multi-part message in MIME format
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Dear Friend,
My name is, Sgt. Geraldine Marcus representing a faction of American
soldiers,serving in the military of the 1st Armored Division in Iraq,
we came across your e-mail address(s) in the process of research and
enquiry into an immense millitary global data base. I believe you are
familiar with the war situation in Iraq ? apart from killings and day to day =
unrest, a lot
of activities happen such as sales of antiques, stocked foreign cash =
and lots more. We are lucratively involved in these activities, myself
and my colleagues want to send consignments out of iraq, which will be
discussed upon your acceptance of this transaction and we require a
worthy, upright and business minded individual for safe keeping outside
the Iraqi state. You might have an insight
through; and details
will be sent upon signal of interest. Our contact email ;
Thanks for your co-operation
Sgt. Geraldine Marcus

Why do I blog this? Aside from being positively baffled at the level of intellect that would actually think there is something other than a bumbling long-con behind this, I find it interesting the ways in which both the efficacy and utility of digitally networked communication is gradually eroded through the exploits of con-artists. At one point, will email just become unusable? What about IM? I was at a friend’s offices and they had to shut down their systems because of a virus spread via IM. And I heard on NPR the other day, public radio here in the states, that network hijackers have found useful (to their nefarious activities) exploits in anti-virus software. How do networked social formations react to the insurgence of actions that make communication problematic? What are the work-arounds and ways to mitigate these disruptions? How can you diminish the value proposition for the hijackers, site kidnappers and such all? Sigh..