Spammers Hide Behind Google Translate

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Barracuda Labs researchers recently came across several spam campaigns that use Google Translate to make malicious links appear benign.

"A basic strategy for blocking spam that contains links is to consider the reputation and destination of the links found in the message," write Barracuda's Dave Michmerhuizen and Shawn Anderson. "Spammers fight back by looking for open URL redirectors and poorly maintained URL shorteners that they can hide behind."

In this case, the spammers are using translate.google.com as a benign-looking URL redirector. In one sample, Michmerhuizen and Anderson show how Google Translate is used to link to Yahoo's URL shortener, which leads to a hacked WordPress blog, which then redirects to a rogue pharmacy Web site.

"[It's] worthwhile to know that spammers are taking these extreme steps to hide what they're doing, and no matter how good your spam filtering solution you have to be especially aware of emailed links," Michmerhuizen and Anderson write. "In short, don't click on them."