Saturday, June 19, 2021

New Spiritual Spam Preys on the Faithful

Spiritual salvation via spam?

Yup, you read it right. MessageLabs Inc., a managed email security

company based in New York, is reporting that the amount of religious

spam has jumped in the last few weeks. Spammers now are peddling sites

that sell Bibles or offering prayers to ‘save someone you love’, along

with their usual fare of mortgages, hair growth and money-making

schemes.

The threat to corporate networks and IT administrators is that these

unsolicited bulk emails are targeting a growing secular society here in

the United States, according to Paul Wood, chief information security

analyst for MessageLabs. And for the growing number of faithful, there

just might be a lot more temptation to open a spiritually oriented

email, than to fall prey to other forms of spam.

”We’ve started to see an increase in religious spam, particularly

Christian-oriented spam,” says Wood. ”There’s obviously a market out

there for this type of thing. I heard on the news just today that we’re

in a particular secular time, and spammers are interested in tapping

this market.”

Wood also notes that religious spam is not regulated under the nearly

year-old CAN-Spam Act, as the legislation does not tackle unsolicited

bulk email of a religious nature.

He also adds that religious-oriented spam still makes up a small

percentage of the overall flood of spam, but it’s a trend that

MessageLabs analysts predict will continue to grow — especially as we

come into the holiday season.

These spams vary in nature, according to Wood, and are not always trying

to sell something. While some of these spams are directing users to Web

sites that sell Bibles and other religious material, others start out

saying, ‘Eternity is a really long time,’ and then it urges users to

accept God and to say a prayer that will ‘save you or someone that you

love’.

Wood says these spiritual spams can cause several issues within an IT

department and within the average office.

Opening and reading any spam not only slows productivity and wastes

time, but it also encourages spammers to continue sending an increasing

amount of bulk email, which overloads enterprise servers and floods

inboxes, which takes attention away from legitimate email.

Wood also notes that receiving religious-oriented email in the workplace

might offend some people, creating a hostile work environment.

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