Al Qaeda’s Secret Spam?

Ok, this is just too weird to let slide, as I’ve been ignoring this for the last week and I can’t anymore. Normally when I get email spam in my inbox, it just goes to my junk mail folder and I delete it later. However, lately I’ve actually seen the contents of some of these spam emails and I’m beginning to wonder if my imagination is starting to run away on me (either that or I’m going nuts seeing these patterns). You also have to remember though that I don’t live in the US and I think the War on Terror is actually a War in Error (nod to Doc for the spin on that).

Here’s where my imagination is starting to run away from me. What if Al Qaeda used encoded spam-type emails to transmit to their cells around the world using the Internet? I mean think about that for a second. Wouldn’t that be ingenious? They basically would be openly communicating with each other across the Internet using mail formats such as marketing spam that everyone tries their damnedest to avoid in the first place (or automatically deletes)! Here’s some examples of what I’m talking about (with emphasized words in bold). This spam email was from 12 October 2005.

Breaking news alert issue – big news coming.

Allixon International Corporation
A X C P . P K

We give it to you again as a gift. This company is doing incredible things. They have cash and have made great strategic aquisitions. Current price is $4.70.
Short term projection is $8. This company has dropped big new’s in the past. Who’s to say they don’t have another big one.

We are given children to test us and make us more spiritual.
Awards are merely the badges of mediocrity.
Don’t fear change, embrace it.
People fail forward to success.
When in doubt, have two guys come through the door with guns.
False face must hide what the false heart doth know.
Any colour – so long as it’s black.
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
Happiness is the interval between periods of unhappiness.
If indeed you must be candid, be candid beautifully.
You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?
Life is largely a matter of expectation.
Irony is the hygiene of the mind.
Bond. James Bond.
There is nothing more wonderful than freedom of speech.
If a thing isn’t worth saying, you sing it.
I don’t mind being miserable as long as I’m painting well.
I may be a dumb blonde, but I’m not that blonde.
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

Ok when I read this spam email I almost couldn’t believe what I was reading. What was being said “between the lines” was just too evident to be a coincidence, at least to me anyways (and as I said, I’m not a paranoid person). Again just put your point of view from a terrorist cell standpoint when reading the following.

Big news coming – We have more planned. Be ready.

We give it to you again as a gift. This company is doing incredible things. They have cash and have made great strategic aquisitions. – We have plenty of assets and funds to do our work. We will be sending you these assets and money so that you can continue to do your incredible work.

This company has dropped big new’s in the past. Who’s to say they don’t have another big one. – We’ve dropped the Twin Towers in the past. We have another big plan ahead as well ahead.

We are given children to test us and make us more spiritual. – Continue to do your work for your children and Allah.

Don’t fear change, embrace it. – A common expression but one that can speak for terrorists as well. Don’t fear what you are doing, embrace it.

False face must hide what the false heart doth know. – Be vigilant in appearing as normal as others, so they do not see what you are doing and raise suspicion.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. – Don’t let the infidels make you feel inferior in their ways. Remain calm and hidden.

You can’t have everything. Where would you put it? – Materialism of the Western World is an illusion. Do not be fooled by it’s embrace. Stay strong and focused.

There is nothing more wonderful than freedom of speech. – We will be the voice of our people for the wrongs that have have been done to us.

Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die. – Feel no fear in death. In giving your life for those you love, Allah will embrace you.

Ok, that’s just the first spam email I noticed. I was going to let this slide but then I started seeing other similar spam emails at which point it just seemed way too weird to not point out. Here’s another one that I just got today, 16 Oct 2005,…holy crap, I just realized it is the same stock company name of Allixon. Ok, I really hope this is some elaborate joke by someone (and that I’m not going nuts). Here’s what this latest spam email says.

Big news expected. This should invoke LARGE gains.
This stock will explode. Do not wait until it is too late.

New news expected this comming week. Expected 7 day price $6.00

Trade Date: 17 Oct 2005
Company: Allixon International Corporation
Stock: AXCP . PK
Current Price: $3.75
Expected Target: $6.00

About Allixon International Corporation

Allixon is a leading provider of RFID Middleware and Mobile Internet solutions for device computing.
Allixon combines its products, expertise, partnerships and integration capability into solutions for a wide range of device computing applications, including RFID Middleware and m-banking solutions. Allixon’s products based on ubiquitous technologies direct companies looking to tap into the wealth of data captured by networked devices such as RFID readers or handhelds to extend the quality of information to any device where they want.

If the company is able to effectuate it’s business model.
WATCH OUT!!! We could see a GREAT STORY IN THE MAKING.

GOOD LUCK AND TRADE OUT AT THE TOP!!!

Ok, again the wording just seems pretty weird and almost seems to be in a pattern. Here’s the breakdown.

Big news expected. This should invoke LARGE gains. This stock will explode. Do not wait until it is too late. – Be ready with your objectives. Do not be late in preparing them. This effort will help our effort immensely when our targets explode.

New news expected this comming week. – We will give you more instructions later this week. Weird about the spelling error on “comming”. First one I’ve seen. Does it mean something?

If the company is able to effectuate it’s business model. WATCH OUT!!! We could see a GREAT STORY IN THE MAKING. – If we succeed in our plans, go into hiding immediately, as our deeds will be great and draw attention to you. Hmmm, or it could actually be instructions relating to the terrorist targets or plan. “Great Story in the making” almost sounds like a building with many stories. Maybe the target is a large building that is being built? No idea.

GOOD LUCK AND TRADE OUT AT THE TOP!!! – Allah will be with you and will see you up in heaven. Or the “trade out at the t
op” again sounds like some building. Maybe another trade building which is what the Twin Towers were? Maybe plant the explosives at the top of the building? Again, no idea.

And finally does the company name, dates and stock amounts mean anything. Are stock amounts actually how many days before the event or the time of the event? BTW obviously if these emails aren’t fake, the company and the stock would be real, since if it didn’t exist it would draw attention to their emails which they wouldn’t want to happen. It all has to look legit from a casual glance.

The weird thing in all of this is that this is exactly how a decentralized “connected community”, that I’ve been talking about, would work. Everyone works in small groups from a localized level, dealing with their own objectives with only situational awareness messages being spread between the different communities (or cells in this case) with everyone working from these messages using their collective “shared mental model” (as again I mentioned in my situational awareness post) to work on a common objective (in this potential case, blowing something up).

Ya, I know. I sure hope I’m just imagining all these patterns I’m seeing here and this is either a joke or some over zealous foreign marketer with bad word usage. 🙂

BTW I just remembered what this type of communication is called. It obviously isn’t an encoded message but what is called a “fugue” which I first read about in The Man Who Never Missed series of books I read a long time ago. It is basically hidden meanings within the evident words being spoken. Think of it almost like slang where one word implies something else but in this case, you are speaking with everyday words instead of slang expressions.

8 thoughts on “Al Qaeda’s Secret Spam?

  1. I had a similiar thought back when I was receiving spamoetry regularly. My theory was that it was a word replacement scheme, so that “victory” might get replaced with “mice”.

    Your’s might be more plausible. I remember watching a TV show or reading something online that showed examples of Al-Queda’s email communication. It was very business like and not direct at all.

  2. Interesting, if you ever remember where you saw it, I’d be interested in reading it. Still, based upon the wording of the email, I was assuming a very large attack in the latter part of October (around the 24th). There really wasn’t one during that time period (on a very large scale anyways), at least that I’m aware of.

  3. We can interpret ANY reading into any way we like, due to our contexts and perspectives (much like we have done with the bible). Reading this spam, I saw a recipe for a great soup that I in fact created some time ago, those thieving bastards.

  4. I think you are paranoid, I hope. But if you want to feed your paranoia I can give you more food.
    I received the spam too. You don’t have to look to the words, you must look to the design. The spam, it is not a text mail, it is a gif file, this is the name of the last I received: !cid_c83894bd3b6254634f0c3f149bcffd6b.gif.

    It is easy send a hide message useing a gif file, you must use steganography. All the people receive the email, but only who have the key is able to read the real message. You can find info about it on this site:
    http://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram-0109a.html#6

    Have a nice day.

  5. Actually the earlier ones that I got were plain text emails and not GIFs. However, some of the newer ones have been in GIF.

  6. another posibility is just that these are random(ish) phrases designed to make the email harder to spot by text-assessing anti-spam filters. This explains the use of GIFs, too.

    However if you like to be paranoid, the versions of the AXCP share spam that i’ve received recently have had a border that could just possibly be a 2D barcode. What could be hidden in there?! lol

    My most recent one came seems to have been sent from Brazil.

  7. Dave, actually that’s a good point about the phrases used to avoid spam filters. As for the GIF, well the emails I got never had images in them.

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