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15 Dec 2005

Spammers sell fake watches with Santa's Chocolate Sleigh Bell Cookies recipe

Experts at SophosLabs™, Sophos's global network of virus, spyware and spam analysis centers, have identified a new marketing trick being used by spammers in their attempt to sell fake luxury watches in the run-up to Christmas: they are sending cookie recipes.

The unsolicited email messages contain a detailed recipe, including ingredients and instructions, on how to make "Santa's Chocolate Sleigh Bell Cookies". The spammers also provide a link to their website which helpfully sells fake watches if readers do not have a way of timing how long to leave the peanut butter and chocolate chip mixture in the saucepan.

Recipes have been spammed out to promote a website selling fake watches

Recipes have been spammed out to promote a website selling fake watches.

"It's still spam, even if they are giving you ingredients for chocolate chip cookies. The spammers are clogging up email bandwidth with their unwanted marketing messages, and damaging legitimate luxury brands by selling replica goods of often shoddy quality," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "When people receive an email like this it shouldn't be sleigh bells they can hear, but alarm bells instead. There's a simple rule that people can follow when it comes to spam: Don't try, don't buy, don't reply."

The recipes are being sent to promote a spammer's website

The recipes are being sent to promote a spammer's website.

"Spammers are making huge profits by marketing their goods via unsolicited email, and it's only because people buy their products that they continue to bombard our inboxes" continued Cluley. "We have seen a rise in the amount of Rolex-related spam, in particular, during the course of the year. Consumers should take onboard the message that genuine Rolex products are not sold via the internet, and can only be purchased from authorized jewellers. A Rolex bought from a spammer's website for Christmas, may well have broken down by Boxing Day."

For more information about the latest trends in spam and viruses, read the Sophos Security Threat Management Report 2005. Amongst other topics, the report identifies which countries around the world have been responsible for relaying the most spam during 2005, and that pornographic spam and messages attempting "pump-and-dump" stock scams have surged.

Download "Sophos Security Threat Management Report 2005" 

Sophos recommends companies protect themselves with a consolidated solution which can defend businesses from the threats of both spam and viruses.

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.