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15-01-2007

A week before Christmas, Diamant Art seemingly got a holiday bonus: On 18 December, the small Canadian maker of plastic food wrap saw its sub-penny stock price triple from 0.08 cents to a peak of 0.25 cents while trading in shares of the firm skyrocketed.

Yet, the price boost was not driven by good news issued by the company but a massive unsolicited email campaign sent from a host of computers - a botnet - compromised by a difficult-to-detect Trojan horse program known as Rustock. Each computer received an image touting the stock that had been designed to foil anti-spam software and started sending out email messages with the attachment.

The activity is part of the latest internet age pump-and-dump stock scheme. The people involved typically buy stock at a low price, use a bulk email campaign to pump up prices, and then sell - or dump - the stock at the higher price. Because many companies touted by such spam are immediately suspected of involvement in the promotion, Diamant Art went on the defensive and quickly released a press release disavowing the campaign.

Source: The Register




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