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Redmond, WA

Plenty of money in spam

There is, unfortunately, plenty of money to be made with spam. Spammers apparently make money in different ways:
- Naive people who pay them to send their message, whether that works or not. The spammer wins, whether or not the spam generates money for the advertiser.
- Not so naive people who pay them because their spam work. There is always a sucker or two who falls for it, and one in a million is enough to make a profitable transaction.
- Phishers, ranging from naive to sophisticated gangster controlled operations, who will gladly pay to send a message that can yield good returns when people fall for the phish.
- Botnet owners who pay spammers to infect computers, either directly or through links to a web page designed to try every trick of the book, to make them bots.
- Phone operations who pay spammers to infect computers with dialers to rack up big phone bills by stealthily calling expensive chargeback numbers in the Carribean or in Easter Europe.
- Identity theft rackets who pay spammers to infect computers with keyloggers and/or screen scrapers.
- Porn site rackets who pay spammers to infect computers with BHOs so that they will drive more traffic to their sites whenever the user surfs the web.
- Trollers who use spam to detect valid addresses that they can then resell to other spammers

So, to remove the profit in spam you have to remove *all* those profit incentives. Basically it is now another set of organized crime activities, along with various other rackets and traffics -- there is too much profit in it for it to go away just because you put away a few figureheads.

What I don't understand (or rather, I'm afraid I understand too well) is why there is no more visible and decisive action by the government agencies that are supposed to look after security, because much of the spam ovbiously creates a big security risk not only by luring people into getting their computers compromised, but also by simply clogging up critical communication channels. But then, I suspect that the spammer gangs probably avoid spamming .gov and .mil addresses on the theory that doing so would be more likely to bring retaliation through more or less overt government action. If you were to dump a ton of trash at the door of a government office or a military base every day, it probably would not take very long before something very unpleasant and possibly brutal happens to you.


Hanover, PA
Very well put. I had no idea there were that many ways for this crap to be worth while. Sounds like maybe the whole email thing needs to be reworked to provide better protection and privacy. In my opinion, the "band-aids" we use to block all the spam will eventually fail. The company I work for is relatively small, but we get about 10,000 emails a day. 90% of which is filtered out as spam or is virus infected.