OMG - is that a human liver?

Filed Under: Spam

As a security professional, I'm generally happy to receive spam. Not directly into my inbox, of course, but into a special folder where I can look at it later. For, ah, research purposes only, you understand.

Call me an old traditionalist, but the "research" spams I enjoy the most are those which get the highest spam scores. Anything which Sophos Email Security clocks at 100%, for example, is going to be old-school, unreconstructed, out-there, in-your-face, no pretending, unsolicited garbage. They don't make them like they used to.

Some of the unremittingly shameless spams don't even bother to try to find new ways of spelling v14GR4 and luvStik, which handily means that I can actually understand them. (As a badge of honour, I refuse to become fluent in 1337. My goodness, is it really that hard to spell tricky words like 'the'? Can you honestly not remember how to write your own name without resorting to punctuation?)

Once in a while, however, a truly memorable spam turns up. And, here at Naked Security, we received just such a message - thoughtfully addressed to all of us - to brighten up our equinox.

Even Monty Python's Flying Circus would be impressed:

Hello.

I found your e-mail adress on medical site of transplant and liver problems.

My name is Alex, I am from Ukraine. I am 30 years man, I never drank alcohol and did not smoke cigarettes, my blood is O+ and I have a good health. If you need liver transplant I am ready to give part of my liver, but I want to receive a big compensation for that...

If you do not need liver transplant, but you know somebody who need it, please send my message to this person or keep it just in case.

I've asked around, and none of us at Naked Security needs a liver transplant yet.

But we decided to keep the message, as Alex advised. Just in case.

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9 Responses to OMG - is that a human liver?

  1. Eric · 1398 days ago

    *sniff*
    BEAUTIFUL.

  2. grreemble · 1398 days ago

    Except the trade in body parts is not so pleasent

    It's not 'Alex' who will give you part of his liver - it'll be taken from someone else, someone who's not actually giving it willingly or surviving for too long after the operation

  3. Brigitte · 1398 days ago

    Oh no Paul, you forgot to include alex's a-mail address!

    I assume Eric is being facetious, but I think grreemble misses the point that, most likely, no liver is available for transplant here. It would be very risky to "advertise" in this manner.

    • Paul Ducklin · 1397 days ago

      Agreed. I assume, if this is not a Pythonic joke, that's it's an attempt at Advance Fee Fraud. (AFF, often called "Nigerian" fraud - confusingly and inconsiderately, if you ask me, since not all Nigerians are cyberfraudsters, and not all cyberfraudsters are Nigerians.)

      Even if only one or two desperate souls end up 'on the hook' - perhaps willing to try something utterly dodgy or illegal to help a loved one who might die waiting for a suitable organ donor - an experienced AFFster may end up talking them out of tens of thousands of dollars (sometimes much more!) before they accept that they're victims and stop remitting money. Sadly, that's a huge return on investment for the bad guys.

      For some insights into AFF, have a look at these articles:
      http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2010/02/18/anatom...
      http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2009/09/02/not-by...

  4. Reilly · 1398 days ago

    Ha-ha! Awesome...
    Small nitpick,: for a guy who refuses to become 1337, your first acronym in the title is "OMG"? That's what all n00b 1337s say... Sorry, mate, couldn't resist.

    • Paul Ducklin · 1397 days ago

      Methinks you have been pwnaged by 1Я0|\|¥.

      PS: I very carefully said that I refuse to become _fluent_ in 1337, which leaves me a loophole to indulge in it cautiously, either for effect or to attempt to simulate hipness :-)

  5. Gil · 1397 days ago

    I'll take it as long as I can get a side of fava beans and a nice chianti

  6. Richard · 1384 days ago

    MAN: Hello. Uhh, can we have your liver?
    MR. BROWN: My what?
    MAN: Your liver. It's a large, ehh, glandular organ in your abdomen.
    MAN: You know, it's, uh,-- it's reddish-brown. It's sort of, uhh,--
    MR. BROWN: Yeah,-- y-- y-- yeah, I know what it is, but... I'm using it, eh.
    http://montypython.50webs.com/scripts/Meaning_of_...

  7. AlexUkr · 818 days ago

    You speak about me here.
    Yes it isn't normal, but what I wrote in the letter is truth.
    And don't compare me with mafia of bodies trade or someone else.
    Alex.

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About the author

Paul Ducklin is a passionate security proselytiser. (That's like an evangelist, but more so!) He lives and breathes computer security, and would be happy for you to do so, too. Paul won the inaugural AusCERT Director's Award for Individual Excellence in Computer Security in 2009. Follow him on Twitter: @duckblog