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June 16, 2005

Major Spam Purveyor Agrees To Pay Settlement

Nearly $500,000 the defendent will pay to settle charges he caused $5.9 million in consumer injury with spam schemes involving anti-aging and weight-loss products. 

Creaghan A. Harry is getting off easy. The accused spammer and perpetrator of fraud, based in Boca Raton, Fla., has agreed to settle charges brought against him by the Federal Trade Commission for $485,000, less than a tenth of the estimated $5.9 million consumer injury the FTC attributes to his sham anti-aging and weight-loss products.

Harry gets to keep the bulk of his $2.4 million estate thanks to Florida's homestead and asset-protection laws. Though the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, signed into law in April, includes homestead-protection limitations that might have enabled the FTC to seek more of Harry's assets, the agency decided in a 4-to-1 vote not to risk the almost half-million-dollar settlement for a potentially larger sum.

Full article at InformationWeek.

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June 16, 2005 in Anti Spam | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 13, 2005

Technology, Not FTC, Seen Best Hope For Solving Spam Crisis

Why you still get snowed with spam? Consider this: The Federal Trade Comission which is charged with implementing last year's CAN-SPAM Act, is still debating what a commercial e-mail is.

Despite the much ballyhooed act of Congress last year aimed at controlling spam, the unwanted and sometimes harmful electronic messages are still flowing freely. According to recent industry report, 73 percent of all e-mail worldwide was spam. That is 13 billion servings of spam day around the globe.

As the FTC seeks comments from the public on its latest tweaking of the CAN-SPAM Act this month, business and technology experts are coming to the realization that no legislation is going to turn off the spam spigot and that the solution is likely to come from technology.

Full article at Silicon Valley Business Journal.

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June 13, 2005 in Anti Spam | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 10, 2005

Michael Jackson Spam Hides Virus

A Windows e-mail virus is trying to con victims by claiming that Michael Jackson attempted suicide.

The message hopes to catch people's attention because of the huge interest in the on-going child abuse trial.

The fake message contains a web link that supposedly links to Mr Jackson's suicide note.

But anyone clicking on the link will have their PC invaded by a virus that gives others access to that machine.

Full article at BBC News.

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June 10, 2005 in Anti Spam | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Canadian Feds Ponder Spam Options

A Canadian task force, who was enlisted to draft recommendations to combat spam, has finally submitted its report to the country's Minister of Industry, according to an article in ClickZ. (The group had previously set up the May 2004 Anti-Spam Action Plan for Canada to evaluate existing legislation and make recommendations for revisions and new laws to reduce spam.

The report calls for additional government legislation to advance prohibition of spamming activities and establish appropriate penalties, enforcement mechanisms, and industry standards to fight spam. It also recommends practices on business conduct, public education and awareness, and international cooperation with regard to spam.

Canada's existing laws include the Privacy Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). Task force member and chair of the board of directors for the Canadian Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email (CAUCE) Neil Schwartzman feels the laws are only peripherally applicable to the spam problem.

"Basically we have seen, with a few exceptions, a handful of rulings about spam in this country and it is not yet dissuading spammers to shut down," said Schwartzman.

Full story at ClickZ.

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June 10, 2005 in Anti Spam | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 08, 2005

Look-Alike Spam Keeps Surfacing, Don't Fall Prey

Be on the alert for official-looking e-mails that are actually spam sent by sophisticated identify thieves trying to trick you out of personal information that can be used to drain your bank account, fraudulently get credit cards and commit other crimes, according to the California Office of the Attorney General.

Small and large companies have been spoofed, such as PayPal, Bank of America, Best Buy and First Union Bank. The e-mail received look like they may be coming from the company with whom you do business and even use a URL that looks like the real thing but it's not.

Don't be fooled! The scam is commonly called "brand spoofing" or "phishing" because the spam mail sent uses familiar or legitimate-sounding names of companies to trick consumers into disclosing confidential personal information. The e-mail may use all or part of a legitimate company's name, and the hyperlink may closely resemble its web site, complete with company logo and color schemes that make it look like close to the real thing. For instance, the Earthlink.net spoof used a URL like www.earthlinkservice.com.

To learn more about what to do and what to look out for, see full story Community Dispatch.

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June 8, 2005 in Anti Spam | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 03, 2005

GoogleGuy Calls Out AdSense Spam Sites

According to a story posted in Web Pro News, a number of web sites were developed for purposes of receiving ad clicks. These spam sites generate erroneous content (if they aren't scraping it from another source) and place AdSense ads in order to trick visitors into clicking the ads so the spam site developer can benefit financially.

These sites are affectionately called AdSense Spam Sites, and they exist only for fraudulent click purposes. These spam sites only benefit the user brazen enough to employ them. Because these types of sites seem to be permeating throughout search engine results, they have become much more of a nuisance... and not just to searchers either.

GoogleGuy, a Google employ that contributes to a number of search-related forums, was conducting a Q and A session on the WebmasterWorld forums when this particular topic was brought up. Much to no one's surprise, GG indicated that he despised these types of sites, which probably means Google does too.

Because GG's answers and responses usually provide a good barometer of Google's position, it's quite reasonable to assume Google is preparing to do something about these types of sites. What that is exactly is anyone's guess, however.

Perhaps Google will employ their human editors to weed out these types of sites?

Full story at Web Pro News.

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June 3, 2005 in Anti Spam | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 02, 2005

Bagle Worm Variants Use Multiple-stage Process to Attack PCs

The latest variants of the Bagle worm have alarmed antivirus companies because of the multiple-stage process they use to attack PCs.

The variants which Computer Associates International has given a new name  "Glieder" because it says they are so different from previous Bagle worms, combine several elements in a way not seen before. In this staged approach, viruses seed their victims, then disarm them, and then finally exploit them.

"We've seen blended threats before where a virus uses several methods to spread, but not like this" said Chris Thomas, a Computer Associates Australia security architect.

The Win32.Glieder worm spreads using a common mass-mailing method, relying on people to click on an attachment so it e-mails itself on to names in the address book. "This is the beachhead," said Thomas. "The whole point is to get to as many victims as fast as possible with a lightweight piece of malware." On Tuesday, CA saw eight variants released.   Full Article at CNET News

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June 2, 2005 in Anti Virus | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack