Category Archives: Spam

Is Spam Trying to Tell Us Something?

The oracles are screaming. They wave around their yield curves and their poll results and their images of ice and fire. Every headline is a forecast. Every stray observation supports a theory. Something is about to happen. (But when?) Many things are about to happen. (And here’s why!) Nobody is sure they know anything, but everyone is worried that someone knows something. Summer will soon be over, but prediction season has just begun.

In the midst of a raging stream of news-as-prophecy, marketing-as-prophecy, and entertainment-as-prophecy, I’ve found some comfort in a space that’s been operating at a similar pitch for decades, all prediction and promise and clues and theories, but at a slightly lower volume and mostly out of sight: my spam folder.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/20/style/spam-email.html

Spam email operator’s faulty backup leaks 1.37bn addresses

One of the largest spam operations in the world has exposed its entire operation to the public, leaking its database of 1.37bn email addresses thanks to a faulty backup.

As well as email addresses, the holy grail of the spam operation, personal information including real names, IP addresses and physical addresses have also been leaked, though on a smaller scale than the email information that makes up the bulk of the dataset.
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/06/email-addresses-spam-leak-river-city-media

‘Spam King’ sentenced to two years in prison

A US man who sent more than 27 million spam emails to Facebook users has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison.Sanford Wallace, 47, is nicknamed the “Spam King” and last year pleaded guilty to federal charges including fraud and criminal contempt in connection with using electronic mail.
http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-36538541Also see:“Spam King,” who defied nearly $1B in default judgments, sentenced to 2.5 years
A Las Vegas man known as the “Spam King” was sentenced Monday to 2.5 years in federal prison. He pleaded guilty last year to one count of fraud.
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/06/spam-king-who-defied-nearly-1b-in-default-judgments-sentenced-to-2-5-years/

Kaspersky Lab Reports Significant Increase in Malicious Spam Emails in Q1 2016

[news release] The latest Kaspersky Lab Spam and Phishing Report has discovered that although the quantity of spam emails has been decreasing, they have become more criminalized. At the same time, the level of malicious mailshots has dramatically increased – Kaspersky Lab products prevented 22,890,956 attempts to infect users via emails with malicious attachments in March 2016, twice the number of attempts reported in February 2016.Since 2012 the level of spam in email traffic has constantly been decreasing. However, the quantity of emails with malicious attachments has increased significantly – in Q1 2016 it was 3.3 times higher than during the same period in 2015. There was also a growing amount of ransomware reported throughout the quarter. This is often propagated through emails with infected attachments – for example Word documents. The main actor on this field in Q1 was the ransomware Trojan Locky, which has been actively distributed via emails in different languages and has targeted at least 114 countries. Locky emails have contained fake information from financial institutions that have deceived users and forced them to open the harmful attachment.Kaspersky Lab’s findings suggest that spam is becoming more popular for fraudsters to target Internet users, because web browsing is becoming safer. Almost all popular web-browser developers have now implemented security and anti-phishing protection tools, making it harder for cybercriminals to propagate their malware through infected web pages.
http://www.kaspersky.com/about/news/spam/2016/Kaspersky-Lab-Reports-Significant-Increase-in-Malicious-Spam-Emails-in-Q1-2016

Spammers Take A Liking to WhatsApp Mobile App

Spammers have settled in on the WhatsApp messaging platform with greater regularity, aided in one locale, by of all things, government regulations.Researchers at AdaptiveMobile yesterday published a report that exposed a number of spam campaigns peddling phony handbags and sunglasses, investment scams, pornography, and more that are moving over the platform, sidestepping SMS in the process.
http://threatpost.com/spammers-take-a-liking-to-whatsapp-mobile-app/110496

106 ways to annoy: China flounders in its efforts to combat text-messaging spam

Spam, as every user of mobile phones in China is aware to their intense annoyance, is a roaring business in China. Its delivery-men drive through residential neighbourhoods in “text-messaging cars”, with illegal but easy-to-buy gadgetry they use to hijack links between mobile-phone users and nearby communications masts. They then target the numbers they harvest, blasting them with spam text messages before driving away. Mobile-phone users usually see only the wearisome results: another sprinkling of spam messages offering deals on flats, investment advice and dodgy receipts for tax purposes.Chinese mobile-users get more spam text messages than their counterparts almost anywhere else in the world. They received more than 300 billion of them in 2013, or close to one a day for each person using a mobile phone. Users in bigger markets like Beijing and Shanghai receive two a day, or more than 700 annually, accounting for perhaps one-fifth to one-third of all texts. Americans, by comparison, received an estimated 4.5 billion junk messages in 2011, or fewer than 20 per mobile-user for the year — out of a total of more than two trillion text messages sent.
www.economist.com/news/china/21635062-china-flounders-its-efforts-combat-text-messaging-spam-106-ways-annoy

Still Spamming After All These Years

A long trail of spam, dodgy domains and hijacked Internet addresses leads back to a 37-year-old junk email purveyor in San Diego who was the first alleged spammer to have been criminally prosecuted 13 years ago for blasting unsolicited commercial email.Last month, security experts at Cisco blogged about spam samples caught by the company’s SpamCop service, which maintains a blacklist of known spam sources. When companies or Internet service providers learn that their address ranges are listed on spam blacklists, they generally get in touch with the blacklister to determine and remediate the cause for the listing (because usually at that point legitimate customers of the blacklisted company or ISP are having trouble sending email).
http://krebsonsecurity.com/2014/11/still-spamming-after-all-these-years/

ITU, Internet Society sign deal to fight spam

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Internet Society have signed an agreement to jointly battle spam, which still accounts for 80 percent of e-mail traffic worldwide.The collaboration will see both organizations identify ways to build “long-term capacity” for resolving the spam problem in developing countries, including joint cooperative activities to provide the increasing need for information on how to do so.
http://www.zdnet.com/itu-internet-society-sign-deal-to-fight-spam-7000035503/Also see:ITU and Internet Society collaborate to combat spam – Spam accounts for 80 per cent of global e-mail traffic
ITU and the Internet Society today signed a letter of agreement to collaborate on combating the global problem of spam. Spam now accounts for a significant amount of all global e-mail traffic and presents particular difficulties in areas where bandwidth is insufficient to handle the congestion that spam creates.”Combating the growing menace of spam and the protection of data is a global concern for legitimate Internet and smartphone users,” said ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. TourĂ©. “We need to find global solutions to curtail the flow of intrusive junk mail which not only clogs up the Internet but also carries huge cost implications.”Under the new agreement, the Internet Society and the ITU Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D) will identify the best ways to build long-term capacity for addressing spam in developing countries. This collaborative partnership will explore and identify potential joint cooperative activities to address the growing need for information on how to address the issue of spam.”We look forward to working with ITU-D as partners in capacity building programmes that will bridge the gaps in understanding so that all countries can have access to the tools and knowledge they need to combat spam,” stated Kathy Brown, President and CEO of the Internet Society. “The costs associated with spam related to wasted bandwidth, storage and network infrastructure, as well as the increased security risks are amplified in developing regions. By collaborating with ITU-D, we hope to make a real and positive impact on the world’s most vulnerable economies.”The agreement will extend the work that the Internet Society initiated last year to hold workshops that address the various roles in developing and maintaining an effective anti-spam process, as well as leverage the strengths and efforts of ITU-D in the area of building capacity. Without such proactive global work, the problem of spam, particularly given the growing use of mobile devices and social media, will intensify rather than abate.The organizations have agreed to preliminarily focus their efforts on three areas:
Facilitating greater regional access to technical experts from the global Internet community who can share anti-spam knowledge and experiences on an ongoing basis
Providing educational training and information on effective anti-spam policies, technical solutions and operational requirements
Documenting anti-spam best practices”Spam is a worldwide obstacle that requires innovative solutions to minimize the burden for countries, network operators, and end users,” notes Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau. “While the telecommunication industry and Internet communities have made great strides in creating best practices and developing technical tools to combat spam, there is a need to build awareness in developing countries of the ongoing technical, industry and policy developments in this regard, and to centralize the knowledge and expertise available. This partnership aims to fill that need.”
http://www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/press_releases/2014/61.aspx
http://www.internetsociety.org/news/itu-and-internet-society-collaborate-combat-spam