Spam, stockings and rhino poop

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
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@gcluley

Well, it makes a change from Paris, Lindsay and Britney I suppose..

Spam email message

The latest spam message to catch my eye uses a different tack than offering videos of female celebrities, or breaking news stories from CNN.

Yes, it’s pharmaceutical spam – trying to get you to visit a website and endanger your health as well as your wallet. If you are eagle-eyed you may even spot that they have dappled the message with some random characters (in a rainbow of colours) in a vain attempt to avoid detection by anti-spam software.

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But what was really striking to me was the subject line used: “International Rhino Foundation selling the perfeect stocking stuffer — rrhino poop”.

Who exactly are they trying to target here? Is someone interested in buying the droppings of a horny rhinoceros really also going to want to improve their performance between the bedsheets?

Interestingly, after a moment’s Googling it becomes clear that this spam’s headline isn’t as bizarrely chosen as you might think. It turns out that the International Rhino Foundation were auctioning rhino poop late last year. One can only assume the spammers are once again raiding archived web-based news headlines for their subject lines.

As always, don’t buy, don’t try, don’t reply. If an email like this appears in your inbox the best thing you can do is delete it, and make it extinct.

And, if you haven’t already done so, don’t you think it’s time you took the spam pledge?

[vimeo 2626564]


Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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