Spam

WebSite Scrapers

Here is a good looking website that scraps content from other sites, probably using RSS feeds, and posts it to their own sites to try to gain traffic/make money from other peoples content. http://www.vistatipsnow.com/ I’m not going to creat a hyperlink to it, just type it in and go look at it, no wait, that will give them some traffic, check out the screenshot below. The images about the site stealing content are from http://www.howtogeek.com. It’s good looking because there are lots of those images all over the front page, as they are scraping How to Geek and this site and many others, you can see my refurbished computers post linking to all of my refurbished computer listings, hehe.

website scraper

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - April 15, 2008 at 12:32 pm

Categories: Blogging, Spam, This Site   Tags:

Death to Digital Vandals

Here are some interesting videos from Panda Software.

Death to Digital Vandals One.

Death to Digital Vandals Two.

Panda Security.

Panda Software company presentation.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - March 7, 2008 at 2:14 am

Categories: Security, Spam, Spyware Info, Virus Info   Tags:

Cutting Off Spammers at the Source, the Pink Sheets

I’ve preached before about boycotting merchants who use adware/spyware to advertise their products or their websites, because, cutting of the money flow will definitely kill the beast in the long run, if they can’t make a profit, they will move on. Same thing goes for spammers, and especially now it goes for spammers pushing those cheap stocks from the pink sheets. The SEC has suspended trading of 35 companies that are currently being pushed in spam emails, they are calling it Operation Spamalot. The suspensions will last for ten business days, starting today at 9:30 a.m., EDT, and will end at 11:59 p.m., EDT, on March 21, 2007.

Washington, D.C., March 8, 2007 – The Securities and Exchange Commission this morning suspended trading in the securities of 35 companies that have been the subject of recent and repeated spam email campaigns. The trading suspensions – the most ever aimed at spammed companies – were ordered because of questions regarding the adequacy and accuracy of information about the companies.

The trading suspensions are part of a stepped-up SEC effort – code named “Operation Spamalot” – to protect investors from potentially fraudulent spam email hyping small company stocks with phrases like, “Ready to Explode,” “Ride the Bull,” and “Fast Money.” It’s estimated that 100 million of these spam messages are sent every week, triggering dramatic spikes in share price and trading volume before the spamming stops and investors lose their money.

“When spam clogs our mailboxes, it’s annoying. When it rips off investors, it’s illegal and destructive,” said SEC Chairman Christopher Cox. “Today’s trading suspensions, and actions that will follow, should send a clear message to spammers: the SEC will hold you accountable.” Source: SEC Suspends Trading Of 35 Companies Touted In Spam Email Campaigns

The 35 companies are as follows:
Advanced Powerline Technologies Inc. (APWL), America Asia Petroleum Corp. (AAPM), Amerossi Int’l Group, Inc. (AMSN), Apparel Manufacturing Associates, Inc. (APPM), Asgard Holdings Inc. (AGHG), Biogenerics Ltd. (BIGN), China Gold Corp. (CGDC), CTR Investments & Consulting, Inc. (CIVX), DC Brands International, Inc. (DCBI), Equal Trading, Inc. (EQTD), Equitable Mining Corp. (EQBM), Espion International, Inc. (EPLJ), Goldmark Industries, Inc. (GDKI), GroFeed Inc. (GFDI), Healtheuniverse, Inc. (HLUN), Interlink Global Corp. (ILKG), Investigative Services Agencies, Inc. (IVAY), iPackets International, Inc. (IPKL), Koko Petroleum Inc. (KKPT), Leatt Corporation (LEAT), LOM Logistics, Inc. (LOMJ), Modern Energy Corp. (MODR), National Healthcare Logistics, Inc. (NHLG), Presidents Financial Corp. (PZFC), Red Truck Entertainment Inc. (RTRK), Relay Capital Corp. (RLYC), Rodedawg International Industries, Inc. (RWGI), Rouchon Industries, Inc. (RCHN), Software Effective Solutions Corp. (SFWJ), Solucorp Industries Ltd. (SLUP), Sports-stuff.com Inc. (SSUF), UBA Technology, Inc. (UBTG), Wataire Industries Inc. (WTAF), WayPoint Biomedical Holdings, Inc. (WYPH), and Wineco Productions Inc. (WNCP).

Here is one example of how spam can affect the stock price, making some money for those already in or who bought early and dooming others to lose money.

On Friday, Dec. 15, 2006, shares in Apparel Manufacturing Associates, Inc. (APPM) closed at $.06, with a trading volume of 3,500 shares. After a weekend spam campaign distributed emails proclaiming, “Huge news expected out on APPM, get in before the wire, We’re taking it all the way to $1.00,” trading volume on Monday, Dec. 18, 2006, hit 484,568 shares with the price spiking to over 19 cents a share. Two days later the price climbed to $.45. By Dec. 27, 2006, the price was back down to $.10 on trading volume of 65,350 shares.

That is 39 cents more a share at peak, or if you invested $1,000 you could’ve made over $6,000 profit! Now, I’m not saying we should start buying stocks that are being spammed, far from it, but for everyone who bought low and sold high, there are probably a lot more who bought on the way up and ending up selling below what they paid, losing money. There are always winners and losers, and if you are like me, then you would’ve been a loser, at least in the stock market. The SEC has an information page, SEC’s Trading Suspension of 35 Companies Quoted on the Pink Sheets, including things like how to avoid Internet investment scams, pink sheets, and more.

Speaking of spam, the Google blog had a post today on these suspensions, Hitting spammers where it hurts, Brad Taylor, who works in Gmail, particularly in the spam section, in which he talks about stock spam, the report spam button in Gmail, etc.

How can you help in the fight? Your most powerful tool is the “Report Spam” button. Use it early and often. That isn’t just there to get the spammy message into the spam folder. It sends valuable information back to the spam team that helps us flag messages and senders so we can keep future messages out of your and millions of other inboxes. Source: Hitting spammers where it hurts

I don’t know which accounts he is watching, reading, whatever, but this past week or two, the spam I am receiving to one of my Gmail accounts has at least tripled, maybe even worse, but it is certainly noticeable, and I have been using the report spam button everyday and it hasn’t slowed anything down as far as I can tell, but, I guess it does because I no longer see those emails, just the “new” spam. So, I guess more and more spammers are hitting Gmail accounts, or at least my Gmail account.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - March 9, 2007 at 3:33 pm

Categories: Spam   Tags: , ,

Video Showing Storm Worm Outbreak

This is a cool video from F-Secure showing how fast the Storm Worm broke out.

1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - January 27, 2007 at 5:26 am

Categories: Security, Spam, Virus Info   Tags:

Storm Trojan Heavily Spammed Over the Weekend

Boy, there were some busy spammers and virus writers over the weekend, so you know our trusty anti-malware/virus fighters were busy as well, this time, fighting the Storm Worm. The guys pushing this malware, Small-DAM (AKA DwnLdr-FYD) Trojan, definitely had a flair for the headlines, as they pushed everything from violent storms, Saddam Hussein is alive, Chinese missile shot down, all the way to Internet love.

The original attack tried to trick users into executing malicious files containing Trojan horse code, posing as information about the inclement weather. The malware was distributed in messages with subject lines such as “230 dead as storm batters Europe”, supplied with attachments containing the Small-DAM (AKA DwnLdr-FYD) Trojan. Attachments may contain one of the following filenames: Full Clip.exe; Full Story.exe; Read More.exe and Video.exe.

The malware also came in emails carrying other provocative subject lines including: “British Muslims Genocide”, “Naked teens attack home director”, “A killer at 11, he’s free at 21 and kill again!” and “U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has kicked German Chancellor Angela Merkel”.

If executed, the payload turns infected PCs into compromised, zombie clients under the control of hackers. Two in every three reports of malware tracked by anti-virus firm Sophos on Friday, 19 January involved reports of the Trojan. Source: Storm Trojan gang declare start of World War III

Checking the F-Secure Blog at different times throughout the week is always good, as they are usually on top of these things. Symantec says it is the worst malware outbreak since May 2005 when the Sober.O mass-mailing worm affected a similar number of computers.

Malicious software that was sent out in millions of spam messages over the weekend has now infected about 300,000 computers, making it the worst malware outbreak since 2005, Symantec said Monday.

The so called “Storm Worm” e-mail messages first started appearing last Wednesday, advertising attached news reports on topics like “230 Dead as storm batters Europe,” or “U.S. Secretary of Sate Condoleeza Rice has kicked German Chancellor.”

The attachments have names such as “Full Story.exe” or “Full Video.exe.” Once they are launched, these files install malicious software that then waits to receive further instructions over the Internet. Source: Symantec: Storm Trojan worst outbreak since 2005

The latest versions of the spam are using love terms, A Bouguet of Love, A Day in Bed Coupon, Love Birds and A Kiss Coupon to name a few. As always, never open attachments that you aren’t expecting, especially from someone you don’t know, and make sure your anti-virus and anti-spyware / malware programs are updated. And hey, let’s be careful out there.

1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - January 24, 2007 at 6:38 pm

Categories: Malware, Security, Spam, Virus Info   Tags: ,

Interview with Spammer Scott Richter

I completely forgot about this video, it’s hilarious. This is Scott Richter, the spammer MySpace is suing and previously sued by New York and Microsoft, both wins for us. ;)

Thanks to Shoemoney, who also said he talked to Scott Richter at a conference and he told him that Myspace wasn’t just suing him, Myspace was suing over 50 other companies and affiliates of companies. More to come I’m sure….

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - at 12:52 am

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MySpace Suing Spammer Scott Richter

That term has been said many, many times, spammer Scott Richter, say it with me, spammer Scott Richter, of Optinrealbig.com, I’m sure many of you have received mail from these guys, whether they identified themselves as optinrealbig or not, that would be the question. Here is one of many threads at Abestweb where they denied any wrong doing, like in this statement:

We take all abuse very seriously and act probably faster then most networks on abuse when there is any problem reported to us. I would like is any of you could email me your emails that you have gotten that you claim are spam so that we can respond to them as well as show Optin info to you.

I think this is a fair request to make as its easy to scream and say what you like but its fair to let us proof your statements are not true.

I do not see how it benefits any one if we do not all work together as a group.

Please email and ones to look up to postinglookup@optinbig.com

Thank you and I look forwarding to replying with the information and will hope you then will post that we did not spam you. Source: Abestweb

I think we all probably chuckled when reading it, the thing I have learned from liars over the years is, not matter what, never admit to anything, so, they always deny, deny, deny, once you admit it, you can never take it back. So it is good to see them getting some of their just rewards.

MySpace also seeks a permanent injunction to bar Scott Richter, who has fought with Microsoft and the state of New York over spam, and his affiliates from using the popular social networking site. Richter runs Optinrealbig.com, an e-mail marketing company based in Westminster, Colorado.

MySpace, which is owned by News Corp., also accused Richter of running afoul of the federal CAN-SPAM act and California’s antispam law. The suit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. Source: Yahoo

They are accused of sending millions of bulletins, a few lines of text you can send to multiple users on MySpace, to MySpace users from July to December of last year. Of course this is not the first time they have been accused of anything, nor has it been the first time they have had settlements against them, they settled with Microsoft in August of 2005 for 7 million and in 2004 with they state of NY for a measly $50,000, probably less than a days take back then. It’s good to see spammers like Optinrealbig.com and Scott Richter getting what they deserve. You go MySpace.

2 comments - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - January 22, 2007 at 8:10 pm

Categories: MySpace, Security, Spam   Tags:

The Internet’s Tipping Point?

I just read this mini interview of Jonathan Zittrain, professor of Internet governance and regulation at Oxford University, who says that malware will be the end of the internet as we know it. With the proliferation of spam, malware, phishing, and general crap out there, people will drift away from the internet to use only their blackberrys, phones, iPods, etc, because they are tightly controlled. Sure, it could happen, like he says, one virus that wipes out 50% of a corporations hard drives, will give them serious reason to pause, and wonder, if the Internet is really worth it. Let?s take all of these communications lines and close off our networks from the public.

Spam, spyware, and viruses can already get in the way of good, clean computing fun. But what happens when malicious code becomes apocalyptic? According to Jonathan Zittrain, professor of Internet governance and regulation at Oxford University, these software saboteurs will drive smart users to dumber appliances like BlackBerrys, iPods, and Xboxes. In his upcoming book, Zittrain writes that the migration to closed systems will end innovation on the Internet. We asked the veteran info-freedom fighter why he?s wearing such gloom-colored glasses. Source: End-Time for the Internet

But are we at that point now? I don’t think so, but I know how to handle my computer and the Internet, the average user will be discouraged a lot quicker than I would, and could move on to a proprietary solution, without all of the hastle. According to a story from InformationWeek, spam sky rocketed in December, it was 94% of all email! That is incredible and an example of what Mr. Zittrain is talking about, add in a spyware infection that can take weeks to get rid of because it’s so new, and you have one very bad experience for anyone.

“This continued rise in spam levels is threatening the viability of e-mail for businesses and is sapping the productivity of hundreds of millions of workers around the world,” said Daniel Druker, Postini’s executive VP of marketing, in a statement.

The portion of e-mail that Postini pegged as spam reached 94% in December, an all-time record. The company blocked 25 billion spam messages aimed at 36,000 clients that month, an increase of 144% over the same month in 2005. Source: Spam Sets Record, Accounts For 94% Of E-mail

It is up to the people who are spending all of the money to figure out who their partners are and how they are being promoted, if you take away the spammers and cyber-criminals means to earn money, they will have to move on. As users, it is up to us to stop using brands that advertise, or end up in advertisements, in spam, and let them know we are and why. It’s all about the Benjamin?s, in one way or another, the sooner someone stops the money flow, the sooner this crap will go away. If not, we could be approaching the Internet’s Tipping Point, but, at least, we’ll all have lots more time!

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - January 17, 2007 at 5:41 am

Categories: Malware, Security, Spam   Tags:

Spam Doubles, is this Spam 2.0?

Just read this article on the NYTimes website called Spam Doubles, Finding New Ways to Deliver Itself, and the second paragraph says “Spam is back”, but what I want to know is, when and where did it go that it is now back? Spam hasn’t slowed down at all for me, at least on the accounts that get spam, I still have a couple that are pretty much spam free, so there spammers, stick that in your botnet and smoke it. I have noticed a big spike in image spam, and those are the bad ones as they know you looked at the email because the image has to load. By default, I make sure the displaying of images is turned off, so that does help keep them from knowing whether I opened it our not. Don’t mistake me, I hardly ever open it, but some of the titles make it hard not to, especially if you are using the internet for anything much at all.

You?re not the only one. Spam is back ? in e-mail in-boxes and on everyone?s minds. In the last six months, the problem has gotten measurably worse. Worldwide spam volumes have doubled from last year, according to Ironport, a spam filtering firm, and unsolicited junk mail now accounts for more than 9 of every 10 e-mail messages sent over the Internet.

Much of that flood is made up of a nettlesome new breed of junk e-mail called image spam, in which the words of the advertisement are part of a picture, often fooling traditional spam detectors that look for telltale phrases. Image spam increased fourfold from last year and now represents 25 to 45 percent of all junk e-mail, depending on the day, Ironport says. Source: NYTimes

Nowadays, spammers are using botnets to send spam, so that defeats a couple of the ways anti-spam organizations fought spam, by analyzing the reputation of the sender and it makes using blacklists of known junk emailers kind of useless. It also allows them to send many more spam messages because the spam is coming from thousands of computers and not just a few and they are using someone else’s bandwidth. And by using images instead of text messages, one CTO says they moved spam into their blind spot. They can change each individual email message just a little bit to confuse anti-spam filters that look for the same message over and over, a technique that could instantly thwart spam email in the good old days.

But don?t spammers still have to link to the incriminating Web sites where they sell their disreputable wares? Well, not anymore. Many of the messages in the latest spam wave promote penny stocks ? part of a scheme that antispam researchers call the ?pump and dump.? Spammers buy the inexpensive stock of an obscure company and send out messages hyping it. They sell their shares when the gullible masses respond and snap up the stock. No links to Web sites are needed in the messages.

Though the scam sounds obvious, a joint study by researchers at Purdue University and Oxford University this summer found that spam stock cons work. Enough recipients buy the stock that spammers can make a 5 percent to 6 percent return in two days, the study concluded.

I hadn’t noticed those penny stock emails don’t link to anything, this is ingenious in its sick little way, being able to make a 5 or 6 % return in just two days is probably well worth it for the spammers.

Some antispam veterans are not optimistic about the future of the spam battle. ?As an industry I think we are losing,? Mr. Peterson of Ironport said. ?The bad guys are simply outrunning most of the technology out there today.?

And they will keep winning as long as people still fall for their scams and messages, as long as users click on the links or buy the stock, spam will be here to stay and will probably get worse. It’s sad to say it, but right now education is the key. Once they no longer make money from it, it will peter out and slow down, but that day is a long way away, most users don’t care, don’t understand or just don’t pay attention when you try to teach them good computing practices. What is the solution? Complete revamping of the email system, which is easier said than done.

As a side note, the way spammers are using botnets should show everyone how well large groups of computers can do things together, as evidenced by the Seti project and a few other distributed computer projects.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Jimmy Daniels - December 6, 2006 at 6:09 pm

Categories: Botnets, Education, Spam   Tags: