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
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
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
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.