Updates to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) approved by the FCC last year will make it tougher on robocall and SMS spammers starting on October 16
. The updated rules will require that businesses obtain "prior express written consent" before using pre-recorded voice messages, automated voice technology, or SMS to push product or services. "We do not require prior written consent for calls made to a wireless customer by his or her wireless carrier if the customer is not charged," the FCC order clarifies.
Dish is already in hot water with the FTC for ignoring the Do Not Call Registry
, and now the satellite carrier's mailers are causing some additional annoyance for consumers. The Consumerist
points out how the company is also sending consumers a mailer with the words "INSTALLATION NOTICE," along with a specific "Appointment No." listed on the front. The additional message of "welcome to the DISH family" on the back tricks customers into thinking they've already been signed up for service, prompting them to call in to Dish. As some Consumerist
commenters note such ads are all too common, with so many mail spam these days dressed up as official correspondence designed to catch the eye. However, letting customers know you're dishonest right off the bat doesn't seem like a winning brand strategy.
As ISPs here in the States begin to act as the entertainment industry's Internet baby sitters despite significant problems
with their new enforcement plans, a UK scam highlights yet another potential pitfall of these system: scammers. With the UK set to start implementing a three strikes system in 2014, scammers are already hard at work conning users out of cash by using fake copyright violation letters
. The poorly written scam letters (did you know that's usually intentional
to help weed out smart folks?) claim to be sent by the "Digital Econnomy Act," warning recipients the must immediately pay a £50 fee.
According to Network World
, the FTC managed to get a Judge to pull notorious ISP 3FN offline after a long history of hosting spam, botnets, phishing and assorted other malicious content. The ISP's networking and server hardware have been seized and will be auctioned off, and the ISP is also being forced to pay $1.08 million to the FTC.
says they've just received their one billionth spam message: an IRS phishing scam sent to an e-mail address harvested nearly two years ago. The project started in 2004, and includes tens of thousands of network admins from over 170 countries who spend their time tracking online fraud. According to the project announcement
, they estimate that for every e-mail Project Honeypot gets, the same message goes out to 125,000 real victims. As such, 125 trillion spam messages have been sent to users since the project began tracking. To celebrate the milestone, they've authored an interesting report
exploring in-depth spam and scam statistics including where they come from and who they're targeting.
According to a statement
by the FTC, the agency has shut down an ISP named 3FN and/or APS Telecom because it "recruits, knowingly hosts, and actively participates in the distribution of spam, child pornography, and other harmful electronic content." The ISP was operated by another company named Pricewert LLC, and powered more than 15,000 websites. According to the FTC, this is the first time they've ever shuttered the operation of an Internet service provider. "We're very proud, because in one fell swoop we've gone after a big facilitator of some of the utterly worst conduct," new FTC boss Jonathan Leibowitz tells the Washington Post
According to security firm MXLogic
, the kind of spam drop seen with the recent shutdown of McColo
wasn't seen here because scam and scumlords have subsequently built redundancy into their networks.
Back in 2004, the state of Virginia convicted Jeremy Jaynes
under a then tough new anti-spam law, sentencing him to nine years
in prison for spamming. Jaynes appealed the conviction, arguing that the law, as written, violated his Constitutional free speech rights.
Spamhaus has long kept a list of the top ten most spam-laden networks
. Many of the list's ISPs are regular fixtures because they've decided to save money by ignoring the problem of infected botnets on their network. Verizon has traditionally been a frequent mainstay on the list (which changes daily), and according to Spamhaus, hosts the most infected botnet machines of any broadband ISP. However, the telco tells the Washington Post security blog
, that within the "next few months," Verizon will join most ISPs in locking down port 25, and will be migrating customers to send/receive e-mail on port 587.
The past week has seen a number of people complaining about receiving text message spam from AT&T about the premiere of the latest season of American Idol, which AT&T is a sponsor of. Whether users can opt-out of subsequent texts or not, customers thought spamming them was a miserable decision. But AT&T justifies the move to the New York Times
, calling it just a "friendly reminder," and insisting it "makes perfect sense to use texting to tell people about a show built on texting." What makes sense is not further insulting customers who are already paying you way too much money
for services like SMS that cost you virtually nothing to provide.
Spamhaus maintains a running list
of the worst spammers, biggest spam producing countries, and the networks that are the most tolerant to Spam. Interesting in this latest iteration is the fact that while Microsoft has cleaned up their act and booted spammers from their domains, those spammers appear to have fled to Google's networks, placing the onus on Google to uh, not be evil.
How time flies! It seems like only yesterday we were saying
that the newly proposed Can Spam Act would do very little to actually stop spam, and would wind up making "legit" spam worse. It's now been five years since the Act's creation, and spam volume has seen a ten-fold increase. Network World
looks back at the Act's creation and concludes that while it did help in a few high-profile busts, the Act to this day isn't taken seriously be spammers. Many experts still think that the Act should make e-mail pitches of any kind "opt-in," an idea gutted from the original law due to pressure from marketing lobbyists.
Security experts state that last week's shutdown of McColo
will change the way that botnet operators work, forcing them to adopt a more decentralized P2P method of botnet control already being used by some scammers and spammers. Sophos tells eWeek
that "because the big [old-fashioned] botnets were still working there was no need for them to change their methods," but "the closing of McColo will force changes." The massive spam reduction caused by McColo's closure was quickly back to normal within days.
Last week a Washington Post reporter managed to take down McColo
, a California-based host thought to host a handful of botnets responsible for roughly 75% of the world's spam, as well as being a host for anti-malware scams, child porn websites and child porn payment data. The Post (via Techdirt
) now has a follow up report
that suggests McColo came online briefly last weekend so that Russian criminals could transfer data and regain some control over botnets. Swedish telco TeliaSonera quickly pulled the plug on McColo's new data pipe when notified. However, they were online long enough for spammers to regain 10,000 to 15,000 of an estimated 100,000 infected PCs.
A frequent refrain in our forums whenever spam is mentioned is: "well, who clicks on this garbage, anyway?" According to a new spam study
, e-mail spam generally gets 1 response per 12,500,000 emails
. The study was conducted by a team of seven computer scientists from University of California, Berkeley and UC, San Diego (UCSD) who infiltrated the Storm botnet network. Using 'proxy bots' the researchers used 75,869 zombie machines to conduct a fake spam campaign. "After 26 days, and almost 350 million email messages, only 28 sales resulted," says the research paper -- a response rate of just 0.00001 per cent - but still hugely profitable.
Yesterday we discussed
how Washington Post journalist Brian Krebs helped knock a major scam, spam and child porn web hosting operation named McColo offline, effectively reducing the world's spam by at least two thirds. Krebs follows up with an article
that examines the drop in spam from numerous tracking operations. As you might expect, any time for celebration will be short lived, and experts expect spam levels to be back to normal within a week. "We're seeing a slow recovery," says Nilesh Bhandari of Ironport. "We fully expect this to recover completely, and to go into the highest ever spam period during the upcoming holiday season."
Thanks to Brian Krebs of the Washington Post, McColo Corporation -- a Web hosting company that has emerged as a major U.S. base of operations for a host of international cyber-crime syndicates -- has been yanked offline. story continues..
Back in 2003, you might recall that Belkin decided to develop a router feature that redirected you to an Internet advertisement for their products every eight hours or so. Belkin took a lot of heat
for including the "feature" in their products, tried to explain the feature
by claiming they were just looking for a way to make sign up for their subscription parental control service "very easy," and then ultimately backed off the idea entirely.
by KathrynV 09:49AM Saturday Sep 13 2008
Back in 2004 the state of Virginia convicted Jeremy Jaynes under a then-new anti-spam law and sentenced him to nine years
in prison for spamming. He has been appealing the conviction based on the argument that he has the right to spam others because of the Free Speech part of our constitution. The Virginia Supreme Court has ruled
that he is correct and that the state’s controversial anti-spam law does violate his right to free speech (see ruling
).Virginia’s Attorney General disagrees with the ruling and plans to appeal
to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Cell phone spam is on the rise with one prediction
being that wireless customers are going to receive one and a half billion unsolicited text messages this year (double what the rate was for 2006). Wireless companies have been accused of supporting phone spam because they make a profit off of those people without text message plans who receive these messages.
AT&T users over the last week started noticing that they were receiving significantly less spam
in their inboxes thanks to a new spam filter. They then started noticing they were receiving significantly less mail, too. Users say that AT&T techs appear to be aware of the problem. We've fired off an inquiry to AT&T for an official explanation. Meanwhile, there's a scuff up brewing over the fact that Yahoo's "unlimited" e-mail does in fact have very real limits
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