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January 2004

   Dynamoo 2004




Norton SystemWorks Spam

Bogus software at Bargain Prices?

Almost anybody who gets spam, has had an unsolicited email offering huge discounts on Symantec's Norton SystemWorks product.

Typically, most people will either delete the spam or maybe report it to their spam reporting service (for example SpamCop) and leave it at that.

What's actually happening is a little more sinister. This isn't just a case of misguided affiliates or small software vendors being a bit stupid, this is actually the end result of industrial-scale piracy of the Symantec Norton SystemWorks suite from factories typically located in the far east.

How can you tell if this is Spam or not? Simply put, a product like Norton SystemWorks 2003 Professional lists at about $100 but can be had for around $50 with rebates and discounts for the boxed product. A few places legitimately sell CD-only versions, but no reputable software outlet would ever use spam to sell a product.

In other words, if the offer seems to be too good to be true, it's probably a rip-off.

Symantec have a comprehensive site in what to look for with these bogus offers, with samples of fake sites and key phrases that spammers use.

What's the harm in a ripped off copy of SystemWorks?

Some people wonder what the harm is in getting a bargain copy of SystemWorks for $10 or so. Well, there are two main issues.

Firstly, it's theft. The intellectual property belongs to Symantec, and it's not even as if it costs hundreds of dollars. In terms of what you get for your money, it's a good product, fairly priced.

Secondly, you'd be dealing with criminals who'd have no reservations about ripping off your credit card details, and are probably involved in other criminal activities, possibly including smuggling, drugs and extortion. Don't help to fund their activities.

What can I do to report the Systemworks spam?

You can subscribe to a service such as SpamCop which will report the spam to the sender's ISP and hosting company. You should also send the Symantec anti-spam team a copy at spamwatch@symantec.com so that they can track down pirates and rogue resellers.

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