Newswise — WHAT:Anti-spam researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) noted a disturbing new trend following Sunday's Republican Candidates Presidential debate. One of the candidates has a new spam campaign dedicated to proclaiming him victorious in the debate and extolling his virtues as the future president.

The messages have headlines such as:Ron Paul Wins GOP Debate!Ron Paul Eliminates the IRS!Ron Paul Stops Iraq War!Vote Ron Paul 2008!Iraq Scam Exposed, Ron PaulGovernment Wasteful Spending Eliminated By Ron Paul

WHO:Gary Warner, UAB Director of Research in Computer Forensics, says "We've seen many previous emails reported as spam from other campaigns or parties, but when we've investigated them, they all were sent from the legitimate parties." The important distinction between the new emails and previous emails, Warner says, is the fraudulent nature of the message. Legitimate messages tell who they are from, and provide a means of "unsubscribing" from future messages from the same source. Warner stresses that there is no reason to believe the current spam campaign is actually endorsed by Ron Paul or his official campaign engine.

WHY: According to the CAN-SPAM Act, the primary law under which unwanted email can be prosecuted in the US, one of the factors that makes a message spam is deceptive sending practices. In the messages reviewed at UAB, emails were received from Brazil, El Salvador, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, and Nigeria already this morning. In each case it was clear that the computer sending the message did not belong to the person who was listed in the "From" address. Such as a Houston resident, whose email was sent from a computer in Italy, or a Silicon Valley computer worker, whose email was sent from Korea.

"Messages such as these harm the online eco-system by casting doubt on the veracity of other online communications", Warner said.

FYI: The UAB Computer Forensics program is a partnership between the UAB Computer & Information Science Department and the UAB Department of Justice Science. Warner and his colleagues research spam, phishing, malware, identity theft, and related CyberCrime issues.