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Spam Your Rights Online

Anti-Spammers Infiltrate Private Online Spam Clubs 411

Posted by simoniker
from the spy-in-the-house-of-spam dept.
Angry_Admin writes " Spammers are now trying to find out which antispammers have infiltrated their ranks and are sharing "sensitive" info with fellow antispammers. According to the story at The Register: 'Online spammer forums like the Pro Bulk Club the Bulk Club and bulkmails.org have been gatecrashed by activists from organisations like Spamhaus. Steve Linford of Spamhaus said spammers know this already but they don't know who amongst their number is working for the other side. In theory the members-only forums of these sites is accessible only by invitation and only to individuals who have a proven track record in spamming. Apart from playing with the paranoia of spammers, the undercover investigation cast light on the latest spammer techniques.' Hopefully the spammers aren't that bright and the antispammers stick around long enough to bring them down."
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Anti-Spammers Infiltrate Private Online Spam Clubs

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  • Tsk tsk... (Score:5, Funny)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Monday May 17, 2004 @04:47PM (#9176965) Homepage Journal

    Someone forgot the first rule of Spam Club...
    • "After a night in bulk club, everything in the real world gets the volume turned down. Nothing can piss you off. Your word is law, and if other people break that law or question you, even that doesn't piss you off."

      Maybe this parody of Fight Club helps shine insight on how spammers can sleep peacefully knowing full well that millions of barbs of dislike and spite are pointed their way. What do they care? They've got the bulk club.

      Go play at AloofHosting.com, free web hosting that makes sense [aloofhosting.com].
    • by macshune (628296) on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:05PM (#9177178) Journal
      >Someone forgot the first rule of Spam Club...

      If it's your first night, you have to spam?
  • Well 3 cheers to these fellows! I wonder how they got in if it's invitation only.
  • by SirChris (676927) on Monday May 17, 2004 @04:48PM (#9176981) Journal
    So there are forums out there for spammers by spammers? Do these forums get spammed also? I, personally, would love to leave a few choice words on those forums.
    • What gets to me about spammers... They obviously feel they are doing the world a favor by offering sexual deficiency drugs, pain-killers of questionable legality and mortgages for those with bad credit.

      I always picture spammers as bereft of libedo and credit, with drug abuse problems. Really, wouldn't that explain a lot?

      • They obviously feel they are doing the world a favor by offering sexual deficiency drugs, pain-killers of questionable legality and mortgages for those with bad credit.

        They probably don't. They are simply making (or trying to make) a buck out of people ingenuity. I doubt they are so self deluded as to believe in a weight loss method that involves neither drugs, surgery, diet or exercise (must be magic, I guess), or similar products.

        My favorite is the one where they offer to erase my bad credit history.
      • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:25PM (#9177369) Homepage Journal
        I was at a party the other night and got into a conversation with a guy who wanted some advice from me, as a Web developer, on setting up a commercial Web site. At first the conversation was pretty normal -- we talked about the choice of servers, languages, back-end databases, etc. Then he asked me, "How can I make sure people go to my site?"

        So I talked about Google PageRank, targeted vs. untargeted advertising, making his site attractive enough to inspire users to stay on it, making sure it's simple enough that it loads quickly and works on different browsers, etc. And he seemed to be listening, but after a while he asked me, "No, I mean when I send people e-mail advertising my site, how do I make sure they go to it?"

        I had to talk to him for a while to make sure he was saying what I thought he was saying, but after a while it became pretty clear that the deal is this: he's going to be running a site selling Brazilian sex tours, and he wants to know how to send spam that will a) get people to go to his site, and b) get through spam filters.

        Needless to say, the conversation didn't last long after that, but it did provide some insight into the mind of the spammer. He really didn't see anything wrong with spamming, or even with trying to be deceptive to get past spam filters. As far as he's concerned, he's selling a service people will want if only he can get his message through. I'd say he was an aggressively normal guy -- a bit of a yuppie, with a backwards baseball cap and a lite (sic) beer, definitely not a geek, probably watches lots of football and drives an SUV.

        These are the people who are crapflooding your mailbox. They're not mysterious creeps living in caves. They're your neighbors. Be aware. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty ...
        • by bladernr (683269) on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:36PM (#9177467)
          but after a while it became pretty clear that the deal is this: he's going to be running a site selling Brazilian sex tours

          Did you get the URL for that? For research I mean, so I can block mail... or something... whatever... WHAT'S THE URL?!

          (note to self... don't forget to click AC box).. DAMN

        • by Cpt_Kirks (37296) on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:36PM (#9177469)
          Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty ... ...and a really, really sharp knife.

          • Well, yes, that did occur to me. We were pretty close to the grill, with assorted metal implements lying around; BBQ'ed spam would have made for a great addition to the food table! But he was a friend of the host, and I thought it would be rude. ;)
        • Hi, I once wrote a bulk mailer for a DotCom. I was young. I needed the money. They collected addresses the old fashioned way: free stuff. People would be more than happy to fill out a little questionaire for a discount drink, or (gasp) to get ONTO the mailing list.

          To my credit I had written into the system a very simple and effective opt-out. Click, click, we were out of your life. Everyone on the list had taken the time to fill something out to get on the list. It wasn't really spam.

          At least that's what I tell the voice in my head.

          I also wrote the web statistic reporting engine, so I do know that pageviews to the website would skyrocket following a bulk mail. And no, most of the traffic wasn't for the "opt out" bin.

          This was back in '98, when spam was a joke, not a fact of life. I recently turned down a job reverse engineering a web-database of a certain annoying industry to generate targetted mailing lists.

          And that was from my brother.

        • by Mateito (746185) on Monday May 17, 2004 @06:40PM (#9178048) Homepage
          > he's going to be running a site selling Brazilian sex tours.
          > he was an aggressively normal guy

          Sorry, but "normal guys", aggressive or otherwize, don't sell sex tours to brazil.

          And, as somebody who knows brazil quite well, I advise you about taking a sex tour there. The rate of HIV is rediculous, and if you are going there to play among prostitutes you have almost a perfect chance of coming into contact with it.

          However, Brazillians are very very friendly people, and a lot of them see sex as something to be shared freely (in comparison to Europe and all of the US except for Daytona beach). Unless you are really ugly, you could go out to any night club and meet a nice girl who will want to play with you*. Or a nice boy if you are so inclined. Why pay a spamming yuppy to be the middle man?

          But if you are going there to party, take a balloon.

          (I met a lot, but I didn't, because I have one of those spouse things, and it just aint worth putting the relationship on the line for 7 minutes of slap and tickle. No, she doesn't read /.)
    • by Oliver Wendell Jones (158103) on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:02PM (#9177147)
      I imagine when they review the forum postings and see "DIE YOU EVIL SPAMMING SCUM!" they just say "tsk, tsk, I don't want to see this crap in my forums... I wonder if there is software that can prevent people from sending me this crap? There should be a way to opt out of this! Why, this return e-mail is fake so I can't even complain! There should be a law!"...
  • by mobiux (118006) on Monday May 17, 2004 @04:49PM (#9176989)
    If someone could get that, we could, at least temporarily, reduce this problem.

    I've got a baseball bat and loads of free time.
  • Spammers (Score:4, Funny)

    by cynicalmoose (720691) <giles.robertson@westminster.org.uk> on Monday May 17, 2004 @04:49PM (#9176995) Homepage
    Hold on, to join you must need an e-mail address. Surely that means that this is a wonderful harvesting opportunity (or even better, does it allow people to avoid being spammed if the spammers believe them to be on 'their' side).
  • by nelsonal (549144) on Monday May 17, 2004 @04:49PM (#9176997) Journal
    I have to ask where does the money come from in spamming? I could understand back in the mortgage boom when brokers were paying lot's of hard cash for leads, but this and other stories make spamming seem like a pretty big business which is rather surprising. Ultimately the money has to come from somewhere (the spam lists can only be sold so many times).
    • by Kenja (541830) on Monday May 17, 2004 @04:53PM (#9177038)
      Companies need some way to sell their sugar pills, I mean H3r84L V149r4!!!!!!
    • by Reckless Visionary (323969) * on Monday May 17, 2004 @04:53PM (#9177045)
      Not to be overly obvious, but the money comes from the people who buy the advertised stuff. They do indeed exist. Some of them may buy regularly. (Think anatomical enhancement pills that you need to "re-fill" every month)
      • I was thinking about that, back in the refi days a broker would pay upwards of $25 per lead for refinancing leads. I could see how a spammer would easily clear some decent money. Selling jars of pills for what $10-$20 means the markup has to be pretty steep to cover their costs. Considering that they are now swaping zombie PCs to cover their tracks, one would think that there was some real money in this business. I haven't seen a cellular spam in some time (another source of high dollar commissions). I
        • Yeah, you're thinking high margin, I'm thinking volume selling. I don't know how many email addresses exist, but we're obviously talking hundreds of millions and up (let's play with 500 mil). You get a decent chunk of that number in a list (say 20%), assume small .1% success rate and you get 100,000 orders. That may be unrealistic, but it does show that things can add up quickly.
        • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:36PM (#9177473) Journal
          There must be a fair amount of profit above the cost price in these pills, or they sell way more than I would imagine - if you look at the front page featured part of eBay (which costs something like 50GBP to be listed in) it is comprised mainly of 'Buy it Now' dutch listings with 500 bottles of pills for around 10 pounds each. There are sellers who hold 20 or more front page listings at a time, selling only pills. If you can afford to repeatedly invest 1000GBP as well as the cost on the products themselves you'd have to be fairly confident in making a considerable amount more than that.
      • by billstewart (78916) on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:45PM (#9177562) Journal
        Some spammers do make their money retailing the junk they advertise to suckers. They typically make their money by marking up junk, though if the products don't work, they have to find new suckers every month.

        Many spammers make their money by selling advertising service to retailers by promising to deliver eyeballs which can be turned into sales, but don't handle delivery of the product. Sometimes they're getting paid a commission, so they make money if and only if they're successful at attracting suckers to the retailer's products or websites - whether that's pills or pr0n.

        But for many other spammers, the sucker is the retailer who's expecting to get high-quality sales leads, rather than the spammees. Retailers who've learned from the experience usually don't provide repeat business, or at least not without changing the price structure to only pay for actual sales.

        And many spammers make money from fraud. Besides the currently popular Nigerian 419 and the pump&dump stock scammers, there's the old-fashioned pyramid game in its many guises. That used to be more popular than it is today, but it still seems to work. One variation on this is selling spamware to wannabee spammers.

    • The money comes from people who actually buy the products being peddled by spammers. If only a handful of people respond out of the millions of emails sent, the spammer turned a profit. Believe me if spamming wasn't profitable people wouldn't do it.

      If we could only get these few people to stop buying spam products, spam would all but disappear.

    • I believe spammers in many cases make their money by collecting a portion of sales. So in that sense, it's normal enterprise and must work for some industries. And I'm sure it still works in the drugs/sex industries.

      They can resell the list as many times as they want, by my email I'd guess some of these are being sold dozens of times every day. Plus, when one customer drops off, there's probably two more waiting to take their place. $XX for 10 million email addresses just sounds too good for many peopl
    • by UrgleHoth (50415) on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:13PM (#9177253) Homepage
      If past observations are any guide, then I'd say the answer is a mix of money made selling lists and actual product sales. In the 90's I used to do IT work for an informercial/900 number infomercial outfit. The pitch was "Make money with 900 numbers." Any normal thinking person is going to say BS. And by an large it is BS. But add greed and a low entry cost, and a hard selling telemarketer, through objection/rebuttal rounds can sell "money making guides" (read legal but shady get rich quick scheme) to lots of people. In a nutshell, the infomercial marketeer made a bundle selling info packets and lists. A few who followed the formula made money, but most didn't.

      I don't like the business so I got out of doing IT support for it, but I learned a heck of a lot about the informercial/telemarketing biz.
      • Old phreaking scam. Get yourself a nice 900 number, charge like $10 a minute or some obscene amount like that. Post it on the internet (BBSs at the time) to give it some legitimacy, then beige box a buncha houses (homeade linemans handset into the exterior TNI) to your 900 number, kaching!
    • by Uma Thurman (623807) on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:17PM (#9177296) Homepage Journal
      The money might come in part from laundering. There's really nothing to show that you didn't do $100,000,000 of business in a year, when you might have really done $1000. The balance of the fictional business on the books might actually be sourced in illegal drug, gambling, or terrorism money.

      John Ashcroft should lay off the Internet bong sellers and the purveyors of porn. If he wants to hit the terrorists in the wallet, he'll close down all the money laundering possibilities that exist. Spam operations are a huge gaping hole that everyone seems to be ignoring.
      • by Steve B (42864) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @11:07AM (#9183708)
        John Ashcroft should lay off the Internet bong sellers and the purveyors of porn. If he wants to hit the terrorists in the wallet, he'll close down all the money laundering possibilities that exist. Spam operations are a huge gaping hole that everyone seems to be ignoring.

        That's the least of the problem. The filter-poisoning junk appended to spam messages (which ought to be prosecuted under the computer crime laws as an attack in and of itself... but I digress) is a perfect terrorist comm channel that is effectively immune to traffic analysis (i.e. there's no way to identify the intended recipient).

        I was reluctant to mention this when it first occurred to me, but after thinking it through I'm morally certain that terrorists have already figured this out.

        Maybe the FBI has also figured it out, and is already planning to scoop up some spammers and use their violations of existing laws to lean on them and anal-probe their business records... and maybe not. If this turns out to be the next failure to "connect the dots"... well, you heard it here first.

    • by Chibi (232518) on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:44PM (#9177544) Journal

      There was a Slashdot article [slashdot.org] a while back about a guy who actually wanted more spam. So, people like Mr. Orlando Soto [wsj.com] are the reason why the rest of us must suffer. :)

      Mr. Soto routinely comes home to some 150 e-mail pitches, and he loves getting them all. The 45-year-old grandfather opens most of them. He answers spam questionnaires. And he buys stuff pitched in spam e-mail -- again and again. "Everyday people call it spam," says Mr. Soto, who prefers calling it "unsolicited" e-mail. "But I'm open to everything."
  • hmmm (Score:3, Funny)

    by LordK3nn3th (715352) on Monday May 17, 2004 @04:49PM (#9177005)
    *builds a facility strangely resembling a german concentration camp*

    *puts up a sign that says "Spammers Only Club"*

    *rubs hands devilishly*
  • by tekiegreg (674773) * <tekieg1-slashdot@yahoo.com> on Monday May 17, 2004 @04:50PM (#9177007) Homepage Journal
    They're bypassing the zillions of filters I have set up like they're bound and determined to enlarge my penis, and bypassing my filters at a rate of 30 messages/day these days. The Spammer is just as smart as the anti-spammer IMHO. Play your enemy as your equal people....
    • by StressGuy (472374) on Monday May 17, 2004 @04:55PM (#9177064)
      Let's see, what were the club names?

      Pro Bulk Club

      The Bulk Club

      bulkmails.org

      Egads, with such a raw display of creative thinking, we don't stand a chance. [grin]

    • by Anonymous Coward
      "They're bypassing the zillions of filters I have set up like they're bound and determined to enlarge my penis"

      If they're trying that hard, it must be a "can't lose" business opporunity.
    • by mobiux (118006) on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:03PM (#9177150)
      You don't have to be smart to be a spammer
      You just have to lack morals in general.

      I think that it actually shows that the anti-spammer is winning. Spammers have to resort to trojanned machines and illegal tactics to get thier job done.

      Which makes me wonder, if it were a wild west situation where anything goes, and anti-spammers were allows to break the law in the same manner, would these spammers still be in business, or would there basically be a bounty on the heads of spammers.

      • by Glamdrlng (654792) on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:15PM (#9177282)
        Which makes me wonder, if it were a wild west situation where anything goes, and anti-spammers were allows to break the law in the same manner, would these spammers still be in business, or would there basically be a bounty on the heads of spammers.
        The first thought that comes to mind is, take the source code for phatbot (it is GPL'd after all), strip out the bits about exploiting microsoft vulnerabilities, but leave in the code that exploits machines listening on the backdoors left by bagel, netsky, and mydoom, and give it a payload that shuts the machine down.

        No, it's not very nice, and yes, it would piss people off. But this is the anything goes solution.
  • notice the ad at the bottom of the article?
  • Optimists (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mikehunt (225807) on Monday May 17, 2004 @04:53PM (#9177037)
    "Hopefully the spammers aren't that bright and the antispammers stick around long enough to bring them down."

    Just because someone does something you don't like, since when did that make them more stupid (or less intelligent) than you?

    Sounds like the same tired argument that anti-virus companies and virus writers use.
    • It's a tired old argument but if no one clicked the links in spam and no one bought the products in spam, perhaps we wouldn't have spam. The people spamming aren't stupid, they know a sucker is born every minute and they hope those suckers click their links. If the clickers would grow a brain we might not have this problem.

      • by bhmit1 (2270) on Monday May 17, 2004 @06:17PM (#9177820) Homepage
        Unfortunately, that specific mob of suckers that clicks on the spam messages isn't reading slashdot (we happen to be a completely different mob of suckers) and it's doubtful that they even know a "dot head". Therefore, telling us they should know better isn't going to do the least bit of good.

        On the other hand, a different old argument would be appropriate for this group. Simply go to all those URL's (by retyping the top level url, clicking on them probably sends them a key to identify your email address), and submit lots and lots of fake orders. Heck, automate it if you can, with some kind of randomizer that picks odd names from a list so there's no easy way for the spammers to filter them out, and even better if you can impersonate a large network. Suddenly, to get one legit customer, you have to go through thousands of pieces of crap, and the business model no longer works.

        Now, if someone could make a distribute app that accepts some kind of template (go to this url, put a name here, cc number there, etc) to automatically fill in and bang on a spam supported site, I'd be more than happy to run it.
        • why not tap into the vast nets of compromised machines yourself, to distributedly spam the spammers' order forms with false orders? The spammers' own weapons turned against them... there's something fitting about that.

          Unfortunately, that way lies madness, federal marshals, and another spiraling arms race -- and in any arms race worthy of the title, the only winners are the arms dealers.
    • Just because someone does something you don't like, since when did that make them more stupid (or less intelligent) than you?

      He didn't assume they were stupid - he said "Hopefully the spamers aren't that bright". Sounds like he's assuming they could be intelligent but he hopes that they are not.

      And the hizell does that have to do with anti-virus companies?

      =tkk
  • FYI (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 17, 2004 @04:53PM (#9177049)

    Some of the "infiltrators" are actually people working at the ISPs hosting these private forums.
    • Re:FYI (Score:3, Funny)

      by cft_128 (650084)
      Some of the "infiltrators" are actually people working at the ISPs hosting these private forums.

      Not any more....

  • by sameerdesai (654894) on Monday May 17, 2004 @04:54PM (#9177058)
    "Hopefully the spammers aren't that bright and the antispammers stick around long enough to bring them down." Yea right!! Do you imply everyone is so stupid to get spammed everyday and can't stop these "not so bright" spammers.
    • Spammers are using brute force attacks, there's nothing bright about that.

      They also hire OTHERS or buy 3rd party software to do the real tricky stuff like writing hashbusters, proxy relaying, netblock hijacking, zombie relaying, and other illegal acts that they routinely do.

      Proletariat of the world, unite to kill spammers
  • invitations? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Cska Sofia (705257)
    I'd surely like to know how these people figure out where to send invitations to spammers. I have a mailbox heaving with spam, just begging to be returned to sender...
  • by Bonewalker (631203) on Monday May 17, 2004 @04:56PM (#9177072)
    This isn't one hundred percent on topic, but I wish someone could answer this question. Why would producers of legitimate software, e.g. Kazaa, Weatherbug, etc. bundle their stuff with known spamware, ad-serving crap, and general spyware bullshit? Don't they realize that before long users will figure out where it is coming from and then stop downloading and installing their software all together? What kind of fees do they usually command for allowing this type of bundling?
    • Why would producers of legitimate software, e.g. Kazaa, Weatherbug, etc. bundle their stuff with known spamware, ad-serving crap, and general spyware bullshit?

      Because they're not legitimate software, of course.

      Kazaa, for example, makes a dubiously legal P2P app that it distribute(d) for the express purpose of getting a free-to-use grid to run various programs on.

      And, unfortuantely, it'll be awhile before the Flynn effect makes all of us smart enough not to use spyware.
    • by jpop32 (596022) on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:27PM (#9177390)
      Why would producers of legitimate software, e.g. Kazaa, Weatherbug, etc. bundle their stuff with known spamware, ad-serving crap, and general spyware bullshit?

      Isn't it obvious why? Because it makes money, and right now. Do spammers care if they kill the medium they use? Nope, because they're making money from it, right now.

      Who cares, it works for me, at least for now.

      It's shortsighted but unfortunately it fits the general profile of human behaviour. I don't see the way spammers or malware producers behave any differently than the way big companies or governments behave, just on a different level. So, I think it's safe to say that things like this will go on for the forseable future.
  • by e9th (652576) <e9th.tupodex@com> on Monday May 17, 2004 @04:58PM (#9177098)
    Given the ethics of spammers, is it any wonder that one of their own might "betray" them?
    • by Vexler (127353) on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:20PM (#9177321) Journal
      It's interesting the reasons that some people would resort to spam. In an article recently on Tech Republic, the author interviewed several spammers on the reason(s) they started out as spammers. One had college tuitions to pay off, another just wants quick cash with no regards as to what topics are/aren't off-limits. When you consider why people spam, the knowledge can be used against them in one way or another.
  • Yeah! I was wondering when people would start to take more offensive countermeasures.
  • Dear Sir/Madam, I approach you with this offer due to the recent death of [county] Minister of Justice [name] because there is a secret bank deposit box, containing the sum of two (2) invitations to spam club. Half of these can be yours, generously. Email for details. P.S. the box also has six p3n!s enl.ar.ge.rs, five bottles of the blu* pi11 C:@l:s, and the absolute L0WEST *R*A*T*E*S for yr. m-ort-ga-ge & /\UTO W@rrn+iez.
  • by Roached (84015) on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:05PM (#9177174)
    "People selling these fresh proxies are either the virus writers themselves or someone very close to them. I don't know how ties between spammers and virus writers was first forged but there is clearly a strong link there"

    ...and maybe this is the bit of information that will encourage aggressive prosecution of these spammers.
  • by SethJohnson (112166) on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:05PM (#9177179) Homepage Journal


    I just noticed the other day, when Slashdot stopped accepting my posts due to an open proxy on my IP, that my Mandrake 9.2 installation had some kind of proxy configured in Apache. What in the hell? Why does the default installation of Makdrake do this? Absolutely ridiculous. I had also installed it at work and had to disable it there, too.


    Not that this is directly pertinent to spamming, but it is a built-in security hole that allows criminals to use default mandrake webservers as conduits for nefarious deeds.
  • by Vthornheart (745224) on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:07PM (#9177205)
    Now, just give me a shotgun, a case of ammo, and a list of related addresses. It's about time we sent unsolicited E-Mailers some unsolicited lead pellets.
  • by neilcSD (743335) on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:08PM (#9177213)
    >>Hopefully the spammers aren't that bright

    Most spammers arent terribly sophisticated. Let's face it though, a handful are extremely smart and capable, otherwise we'd have gotten rid of them a long time ago.
  • The Almighty Buch (Score:5, Insightful)

    by VernonNemitz (581327) on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:10PM (#9177233) Journal
    Since $ (or yen, marks, rubles, lira, etc) is all that any spammer wants in the first place, it logically follows that any of them can be bribed to spill all the secrets (like how to gatecrash, or instead to formally invite an antispammer, etc).
  • by bizitch (546406) on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:14PM (#9177271) Homepage
    I cant seem to get to that website "bulkmails.org"

    I keep hitting my refresh button over and over and over and over and over again - but it doesn't come up ....

    hmmmmmm....
  • All Spamhaus would have to do was include a couple of false spammer names on its officials lists, use those false identities to complain on more generic forums about the ridiculousness of laws like CAN-SPAM, and wait for the invites to show up. Almost every group, no matter how exclusive, has members who are more gullible and willing to make the invite. (C'mon - the only reason spamming is profitable is because the broader group of computer users has so many gullible people who are willing to believe they can gain an inch, lose a pound, and refinance for a much lower rate.)
  • by tokachu(k) (780007) on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:19PM (#9177308) Journal
    Sometime back in 2002, a guy who worked for LeadClick (a spamhaus) downloaded a file called
    "teen sex.mpg.scr"
    (notice the extension) that turned out to be a backdoor. The screen shots are somewhere on Freenet [freenetproject.org] (you have to download and run Freenet first).

    What the screenshots reveal are, to say the least, scary. It turns out that an employee named "Greg" (greg@leadclick.com), who works as an e-mail harvesting database manager, also manages databases for SpamCop!

    I kid you not. A spammer who works for SpamCop. I can't post links to the freesite (that's kinda pointless), but at least the incriminating screenshots are safe on Freenet.
    • by eaolson (153849) on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:48PM (#9177579)
      I kid you not. A spammer who works for SpamCop. I can't post links to the freesite (that's kinda pointless), but at least the incriminating screenshots are safe on Freenet.
      I'm sorry, but I call bullshit. I know of three employees of SpamCop, none of which are named Greg. If photos of John Kerry and Jane Fonda can be Photoshopped, so can a screenshot.

      Evidence, please.

  • Gee (Score:3, Funny)

    by AstrumPreliator (708436) on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:21PM (#9177333)
    I wonder if they have a 'No Spam' rule in the forum rules to try and keep down the mass amounts of spam posts. But then the forums would be stifling it's own members.

    What a dilemma!
  • by kettch (40676) on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:24PM (#9177361) Homepage
    I found this quote on one of the websites (http://www.emaillistclub.com/ [emaillistclub.com])

    We will arm you with the knowledge to make killer sales copy so you can convert a lot of those who open your sales letter into sales today!

    Oh, yEaH, sPaMmers write the best ad copy of anybody !!!!!!!!!!

    Just 5 minutes, a monkey, a pound of salt, three feet of cat-5, 1 match, a can of orange paint (oil base), a magnet, a ream of copy paper, 1 square meter of bubble wrap, a laser pointer, one spammer, and a small room. That's all I ask.
  • SPAM = DDOS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DrugCheese (266151) on Monday May 17, 2004 @05:26PM (#9177380)
    Just a random thought:
    Isn't this just a distributed denial of service attack on my inbox?

  • Yahoo search for bulk e-mail [yahoo.com]
    Google search for bulk e-mail [google.com]

    clickety clickety on sponsored links

  • by ReyTFox (676839) on Monday May 17, 2004 @06:03PM (#9177708)
    First, I think it was, they had the "Bulk mail" box.

    Then they added an option to report messages that got through the filter, by opening the message, then a listbox, where one of the options was "this is spam."

    Recently they changed it so that now you press a button labeled "spam" rather than open a listbox.

    I'm fairly certain their next step will be to make the button bigger and in capital letters.
  • by StormyMonday (163372) on Monday May 17, 2004 @06:05PM (#9177723) Homepage
    Let's see. Class III narcotics? Check. Stock market pump 'n dump? Check. Nigerian scams? Check. Hijacked machines? Check.

    All of these are seriously illegal.

    So where are the cops?

    It'd be amusing (yes, I have a sick sense of humor) to find out that everybody in the chat room was a cop, just waiting for a real spammer to log in ...
  • Strategies (Score:3, Interesting)

    by azav (469988) on Monday May 17, 2004 @06:15PM (#9177812) Homepage Journal
    I was thinking about this.

    If a spammer is a repeated spammer, some of the reporting services like spamcop should report them to their registrar. The registrar should revoke their domain and point their domain to a page explaining why this page is unavailable.

    If the registrar does not revoke their domain, the registrar should have their operation suspended by the master registrar.

    If a registrar has a habit of being a registrar for spammers, they will be shut down.

    This seems able to shut down spammers and if this process is fit into the business model of a registrar, may be able to make it more difficult for these assholes to do business.
  • by angst_ridden_hipster (23104) on Monday May 17, 2004 @06:41PM (#9178067) Homepage Journal
    ...

    but it would be pretty easy to write a little script that searched for "spam-friendly" and similar search terms on Overture, Google, etc, and clicked through those links.

    Pretty soon, ISPs would have to stop advertising those services. They'd have to resort to mis$pelling s+earch Te(rms like in a SP.AM mess(age, thereby cutting down the effectiveness considerably.

    Of course, anti-spam services would probably take a lot of collateral damage from an approach like this. Innocents getting caught and torn apart by the mob show the fundamental problem with the vigilante approach.
  • by darkonc (47285) <stephen_samuel&bcgreen,com> on Monday May 17, 2004 @06:48PM (#9178129) Homepage Journal
    The Register article points to another article which talks about how the arrest of the PhatBot worm creator [theregister.co.uk] may provide some information on the rental of hordes of compromised machine as networks of spam zombies. It lists a common price of $500 for 10,000 machines -- In other words, your box is worth $.05 to a spammer.
  • by ChopsMIDI (613634) on Monday May 17, 2004 @10:16PM (#9179595) Homepage
    When a spammer and an anti-spammer collide, they annihilate each other.
  • Spammer techniques (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jcuervo (715139) <cuervo.slashdot@zerokarma.homeunix.org> on Monday May 17, 2004 @11:24PM (#9179988) Homepage Journal
    I've always wondered: why don't spammers just run their messages through SpamAssassin or something before they send out the spam? Just keep tweaking it until it gets a satisfactorily low score, then blast it out to the net.

    I know they're not that bright (Nigerian twits, especially), but this should be a no-brainer.

"Look! There! Evil!.. pure and simple, total evil from the Eighth Dimension!" -- Buckaroo Banzai

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