Archive for the ‘Spam’ Category

Google Disables An Official Google Blog After Deciding It Was Spam

August 9, 2007

This is just classic..

“This is how you know you’ve got a problem with splogs (or spam blogs created for the sole purpose of making money through advertising or sales of often dubious products). Google accidentally disabled the Official Google Custom Search blog this morning after Google software identified the blog as spam.”

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Two Men Convicted Of Spamming Pornography

June 26, 2007

“Both men now face up to 30 years in prison and half a million dollar fines.”   GOOD!

” Two men were convicted Monday of spamming out millions of e-mail messages that included hardcore pornographic images.

Jeffrey A. Kilbride, 41, of Venice, Calif., and James R. Schaffer, 41, of Paradise Valley, Ariz., were convicted on eight counts in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, Ariz. Both face a maximum of 30 years in prison, along with a fine of up to $500,000. They’ll be sentenced on Sept. 24.

The charges included conspiracy, fraud, money laundering, and transportation of obscene materials. The trial, which began on June 5, was the first to include charges under the CAN-Spam Act of 2003, according to a release from the Department of Justice. The specific law that prosecutors used under the CAN-Spam Act was designed to crack down on the transmission of pornography in spam.

“Through their international spamming operation, these defendants made millions of dollars by sending unwanted sexually explicit e-mails to hundreds of thousands of innocent people, including families and children, while simultaneously using sophisticated Internet technology to try to conceal their identity,” said Assistant Attorney Alice S. General Fisher. “This prosecution, the first of its kind under the CAN-Spam Act, demonstrates the Department of Justice’s commitment to protect American families from receiving unsolicited spam e-mail.”

According to prosecutors, in 2003, Kilbride and Schaffer set up a spamming operation that would eventually gross more than $2 million. Their business model consisted of sending millions of spam messages which advertised commercial pornography Web sites. For each person that followed a link to one of the porn sites, Kilbride and Schaffer earned a commission. Hard-core pornographic images were embedded in each e-mail.”

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Antispammers Get Slammed

June 15, 2007

“Antispam organizations are reporting numerous distributed denial-of-service attacks, compliments of their arch-enemies.

The SANs Institute has discovered that a sizable distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack has affected several well-known antispam groups. Spamhaus, SURBL and several others seem to be the victims of an attack similar to the one that incapacitated–and eventually shut down–antispam software maker Blue Security last year. While some of the groups are back up, others are still trying to recover.”

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“Spam King” Pleads Guilty In U.S. Federal Court

June 12, 2007

From Slashdot

“It looks like ‘Spam King’ Adam Vitale has finally plead guilty to violation of the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 in federal court in New York City. ‘The indictment said that in less than a week in August 2005, Vitale and Moeller sent e-mails on behalf of the informant to more than 1,277,000 addresses of subscribers at AOL, the online division of Time Warner Inc. Vitale will be sentenced on September 13 when he faces a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison. Moeller, who lives in New Jersey, faces the same charge.’ We discussed Vitale’s arrest back in February.”

Five Of The Largest ISPs To Start Charging For Guaranteed Delivery Of Their Emails

June 8, 2007

“Five of the largest ISPs in the US are to start charging businesses for guaranteed delivery of their emails, in a bid to combat spam.Goodmail Systems, which provides a service called CertifiedEmail, has signed up Comcast, Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable’s Road Runner and Verizon as customers. Emails certified using the system are marked with a blue ribbon to show they come from a trusted source, thus bypassing spam filters – a privilege that will cost the sender a quarter of a US cent per email.

The voluntary scheme is aimed at large corporations and financial institutions whose mass mailings are most likely to be spoofed and caught in spam filters. Not-for-profit groups will be able to use the service for roughly a tenth of the commercial rate.

Goodmail’s chief executive, Richard Gingras, said: “With spam and phishing hitting historic highs even in the last six months, we have seen the limits of technologies which attempt to filter out the bad email. Consumers want their email system to let them know which email is real and safe to open and act on.””

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Spammers’ Use of AI Only Just Begun

June 1, 2007

“Though security industry experts were openly referring to the death of spam several years ago, the arrival of image-based attacks has resulted in a stunning renaissance in the volumes of unwanted e-mail reaching end-users’ inboxes.And while filtering technologies have improved significantly and can thwart the ability of most image spam to force its way onto corporate networks today, some experts believe that the fight against the use of such AI (artificial intelligence) tactics on the part of spammers is only just getting underway.

In a new report published on May 30, analysts at Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research extrapolate on their theory that image spam is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to spammers’ use of AI.”

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Great, Something To Inflate The Spammers Profits

April 27, 2007

“Instead of embedding images in e-mail, spammers are embedding links to the images that are set up on popular photo-sharing sites.”

“Dmitri Alperovitch, principal research scientist at Secure Computing, said instead of embedding image spam inside of e-mail messages, cyber criminals are starting to embed only a link to a photo or image they’ve put up on a photo-sharing site. Alperovitch said in an interview that this makes it a lot easier and more cost effective for the spammers, who no longer have to embed a bandwidth-sucking image in every message spammed out. “It still looks like the spam messages that have been sent out, but they’ll be coming in much larger volumes,” said Alperovitch.”

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Have Google And The Spammers Partnered Up?

April 20, 2007

If not, why wouldn’t they? Think about it…

Spammers have the best chance of getting you to read their spam if:

  • It’s from a name you know/trust
  • It’s about something you have an interest in

Google has both of those, especially if you use Gmail. If you use Gmail for chatting, they know even more. If you’re logged into Gmail when you surf, they have tons of data on your searching habits. Google knows your contacts and interests if you use Gmail, and many, many people do.

Now, if they were to work with the spammers, what would be in it for each of them? Well, for the spammers, they’d get what they needed…the info listed above that improves their chances of getting you to read their spam. Ok, that one works out, but what’s in it for Google?

How about some key information on how to block most spam? I don’t mean this hit & miss Bayesian crap, I mean some key piece of information the rest of us aren’t aware of. Or, how about they simply say hey…we still need to send you spam or people will get suspicious, but any spam we send you, you’ll be able to detect because it’ll have *this* in it.

Seems plausible to me. Google gets a piece of the pie when someone clicks on spam Google provided the inside information for, and the spammers get a warehouse of information on 85% of the internet population.

Spammer: Sue Me. Email Recipient: Ok…

March 13, 2007

There’s a Scottish saying, “They that dance must pay the fiddler.” Now it seems there should be another: “They that spam must pay the Scot”. Fed up with the daily deluge of spam he received, Gordon Dick of Edinburgh, Scotland, decided to sue one of his inbox invaders–and won.”

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Operation Spamalot

March 8, 2007

“The Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday suspended trading in 35 companies whose shares were touted in e-mail spam campaigns.

The SEC said it took the action to protect investors from fraud, because the accuracy of information in e-mails about the companies was questionable. The SEC did not identify who had sent the e-mails or say whether any of the companies was responsible.

E-mails heralded with messages such as “Ready to Explode,” “Ride the Bull” and “Fast Money” clog people’s inboxes — an estimated 100 million of them a week — and spark dramatic spikes in trading and stock prices before the spamming stops and investors lose their money, the SEC said.”

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