Trump, Sanders Are the Top Brands for Cybercriminals

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Unwanted and malicious emails using political-themed lures has spiked as the presidential primary season cranks into high gear – with Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders representing the lion’s share of subject line themes. Since the beginning of the year, Proofpoint researchers have tracked subject lines in what it calls “Unsolicited Commercial Email” or UCE, using the last names of candidates in the 2020 elections. Through Feb. 29, researchers found a strong correlation between the visibility of political candidates and the amount of spam that uses their “brands” in the subject lines. For instance, Trump-related UCE in the first two months of the year saw more than twice the volume of the Democratic front-runners combined. “Overall UCE volumes mentioning individual candidates suggests that Donald Trump not only has the incumbent’s advantage but also maintains the strongest brand as he did in 2016,” researchers said in a posting issued on Super Tuesday. Democratic front-runners during the analysis period, including Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, all had ebbs and flows in their presence in UCE, depending on how their campaigns were doing. This variation in UCE volumes “roughly corresponds to shifts in polling, major events in the election season, and changes in relative market strength,” the analysis pointed out. As an example, Bloomberg-related UCE spiked significantly in the leadup to his first and only…

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