Ralph Melton (ralphmelton) wrote,
Ralph Melton

The Economics of Phishing

I got this email today:

From: "Blizzard Entertainment" <noreply@blizzard.com>
Date: August 10, 2010 2:28:56 PM EDT
To: <ralph@chezmelton.org>
Subject: World of Warcraft flying mounts Receive notice

Blizzard is about to launch a new flying mounts,Free Receive,For more information, please log in: http://www.worldofwarcraft-sitename-changed-out-of-spite.com/

The World of Warcraft Support Team
Blizzard Entertainment

This is pretty typical - of all the phishing e-mails that I've recognized, all of them have had atrocious command of english.

It makes me wonder about the economics of phishing. It seems to me that there would be a niche for grammatically competent phishing e-mails. There are multiple possibilities for why I don't see competent phishing:
• Perhaps my spam filters are better at weeding out grammatically competent scams than incompetent ones. This seems implausible.
• Perhaps those who engage in grammatically competent phishing are also careful enough with their deception in other ways that I don't notice the better phishing. It seems unlikely to me that this is true of all grammatically-capable writers - to me, it seems much easier to use decent grammar than to disguise a phishing link.
• Perhaps the cost of getting someone competent in English to compose phishing e-mail outweighs the increased revenues to be gained from doing so. It is plausible to me that this might be the case, but I would still expect someone to try the experiment occasionally.
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