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Spammers are turning to subliminal advertising in an effort to manipulate internet users, according to security company Pandalabs .

The firm says it had detected a new type of email which offers users the opportunity to purchase shares, but also contains a rapidly-displayed sequence of images showing the word ‘Buy’.

Luis Corrons, director of PandaLabs, said: “This is the first time we have detected an internet threat that uses subliminal techniques.

Although in this case the author cannot boast a fine-tuned technique, it is worrying to witness how cyber-criminals are trying to introduce new strategies to increase the effectiveness of their attacks. And, worse still, we can expect new and more sophisticated threats of this kind to appear.

Subliminal advertising techniques have been used for a long time, although they are banned.

In this case, Pandalabs says the images appear on screen for a maximum of 40 milliseconds, and in some cases, for only 10 milliseconds.

This seems a pretty dangerous development, especially for younger users.

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Published 12 September, 2006 by Richard Maven

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