phish in a barrel

Over at Language Log, a language blog I’ve been known to parasitise, Geoffrey K. Pullum reports receiving an email, allegedly from the Warren Buffett Foundation, offering him a million-dollar donation. If that generosity wasn’t remarkable enough, Pullum notices that the email came from Kazakhstan, not the first place you’d expect Buffet’s foundation to be based in.

The phisher’s email address isn’t just any Kazakhstan email address. It’s, listed as a contact at CNPC-Aktobemunaygaz, a Kazakhstan company controlled by CNPC 中石油. Indeed, the username priem_zhgpz surely stands for приём[ная] ‘reception’ Ж[анажольский нефте]г[азо]п[ерерабатывающий] з[авод] ‘Zhanazhol oil and gas refinery’. CNPC is one of the ‘Three Barrels of Oil’ (三桶油), China’s state-owned oil majors; another Barrel, CNOOC (中海油) makes frequent appearances in this blog.

Either the address has been usurped by the Phorces of Evil, or CNPC’s riches aren’t trickling down to their staff at Zhanazhol, forcing them to do some phishing on the side.

[An update to Pullum’s post mentions the CNPC connection, which I wasn’t the only person to spot.]

[Hat tip to Victor Mair.]

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