Mainsleaze Spam News
"Requiescas in pace o email"
Court OKs blocking of unsolicited e-mails|
The University of Texas didn't violate the constitutional rights of an online dating service when it blocked thousands of unsolicited e-mails, a federal appeals court panel ruled Tuesday.
White Buffalo Ventures, which operates LonghornSingles.com, had appealed to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, saying it had complied with all anti-spam laws.
The company argued that the university violated its constitutional rights by filtering out 59,000 e-mails in 2003. White Buffalo also claimed a federal act that allows certain e-mails superseded the university's anti-spam policy.
The 5th Circuit panel found that the federal anti-spam law, CAN-SPAM, does not pre-empt the university's policy and that the policy is permissible under the First Amendment.
The court determined that White Buffalo complied with federal law, that its e-mails were not illegal, but the law applies to UT as it would to an Internet service provider that employs protection measures
The Boston Globe. August 3, 2005.
ISPs versus the zombies|
The FTC has called on ISPs to identify zombies on their networks
Internet service providers face mounting pressure to keep their networks free of pests--not only for the benefit of their customers, but also for the good of the Internet in general.
In the next few months, ISPs in the United States will begin receiving reports on the zombies, or PCs open to control by hackers, that lurk on their networks. The data will be sent out by the Federal Trade Commission, which said in May that zombies have become such a serious problem that more industry action is required.
Zombies are put to work to relay marketing spam and to send messages used in phishing scams, which attempt to steal sensitive personal data, for example. They have also been used to host the faked Web sites in phishing scams or to mount denial-of-service attacks against online businesses targeted by extortion schemes. In addition, they're used to compromise more PCs, which are added to the networks of zombies, called "botnets."
C|Net News.com. July 19, 2005.
Feds Accuse Firms in Porn E-Mail Scheme|
Federal regulators accused seven companies Wednesday of hiring others to send illegal e-mails with pornographic messages to tempt consumers to visit adult Internet sites.
The government said four of the firms already agreed to pay nearly $1.2 million to settle the charges, making it among the most aggressive government crackdowns on pornographic e-mail operations.
The Federal Trade Commission described the practice as "electronic flashing" and said at least some of the unwanted e-mails were sent to children. The threat of children unwittingly receiving smut in their inboxes helped drive the U.S. government to impose restrictions on sending commercial e-mails last year.
TBO.com AP News. July 20, 2005.
Scott Richter Spamhaus.org Listing Phased Out!|
Following was posted by Steve Linford of Spamhaus.org July 19, 2005, in the
"FYI: Many months ago Scott Richter gave Spamhaus his word he was
really-really quitting the spam business, to instead build a solid COI
business. Against the odds he appears to have pulled it off, we have not
seen spam from Richter for so many months that his time is up...
Richter is out of ROKSO."
[Ed. Note. Scott Richter's history as one of the most prolific and
unrepentant spammers on the planet has been well documented. He even appeared on
Jon Stuart's Daily Show explaining his bulk email operations! If he has reformed and
stopped spamming, it seems a singular event in the history of this dark period in the
development of the Internet.]
For more on Spamhaus.org and the ROKSO list of worst spammers, visit their web site.
Spam Works: 11 Percent Have Bought Stuff Advertised Via Spam |
[This editor's Suggested Alternate Title: A Sucker Born Every Minute]
It's no wonder there's spam, and lots of it. According to a survey released Tuesday, 11 percent of computer users have bought something touted by spam, and 9 percent have been ripped off by spam scams.
The poll, jointly conducted by Mirapoint, a message security vendor, and the Radicati Group, a research firm that specializes in e-mail messaging issues, found a surprising fraction of computer users actually open spam, buy its products, and get suckered into its bogus schemes.
Even if they're not purchasing spammed products, nearly 4 in 10 users (39 percent) admitted to clicking on the embedded URLs within spam. More distressing is that 57 percent of those polled who said they clicked on links also said they received more spam after they did. Relating cause and effect, it seems, is a dying art.
personaltechpipeline.com. July 12, 2005.
MCI and SBC Refuse to Work with Anti-Spam Workgroups|
Spammers Fleeing China Crackdown on Spammers to MCI and SBC
chinatietong (aka China Railway, CRTC) have had enough and have begun
nuking their spammers so there are now a lot of ex-CRTC spammers
wondering where else to go, and there's not much alternative in China.
All the Chinese networks are on a spammer clearup. There's no 'safe'
network left for spammers in China currently, all Chinese networks now
work with us and nuke their SBL istings.
We currently have far better cooperation from even the very worst of the
former Chinese 'bulletproof' networks than we do from the few large
US-base spam-friendly networks such as MCI and SBC, the only true
"bullet-proof" spam havens left.
As all spammers have seen, those hosted in China get nuked every few
days, while those hosted on MCI and SBC can spam to their hearts content
and remain untouched as both MCI and SBC flatly refuse to recognize or
work with any anti-spam work group. Both MCI and SBC see anti-spam work
groups as the enemy, not the spammers. Both MCI and SBC have openly
refused to terminate spammers for years, both have made it very clear
that spammers are welcome as long as they pay their bills. It's only
natural that with no place else to go spammers evicted from Chinese
networks head for MCI and SBC.
The Spamhaus Project
The above is quoted from a posting to news.admin.net-abuse.email newsgroup, the thread archived at groups.google.com.
Proposed CAN-SPAM Changes Worry DMA|
DMA members are worried about a proposal to shorten the deadline for complying with consumer opt-out requests from 10 days to three.
The Direct Marketing Association urged members last week to submit comments to the Federal Trade Commission regarding proposed changes to the CAN-SPAM Act, citing concerns about how some of the changes would affect commercial e-mail.
DMA members are worried about a proposal to shorten the deadline for complying with consumer opt-out requests from 10 days to three, the DMA said. Members have stated that the shortened timeframe would be "unworkable," according to the association.
Another concern is a proposed change in the definition of the term "sender" as it is used in CAN-SPAM. The FTC wants to define the "sender" of an e-mail as any entity that determines the e-mail addresses to which an ad message is sent, is identified in the message's "From" line or controls the content of the message.
DMNews.com. May 23, 2005.
NOTE: Register your opinion on this issue with the FTC using their web form soliciting input here:
Comment Form: Definitions, Implementation, and Reporting Requirements Under the CAN-SPAM Act. Comments due June 27, 2005.
FTC Publishes Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.
[Ed. Note: What this means is that our good friends (hack, spit) at the DMA are still
trying to pull the wool over the FTC's eyes. Any properly automated email system can unsubscribe a subscriber
within SECONDS of receiving the unsubscribe request by spitting back an email with a confirmation request for
the unsubscribe, to prevent forgeries, in which email there is a link for the recipient to click on to finish
the process. Presto, chango. The FTC should be changing the rules to enforce this absolute, confirmed step,
automated unsubscribe as a requirement. Further, the weasels (oh, I'm sorry, our good friends) at the DMA are
further trying to avoid taking responsibility for outsourced email. You see, that way the corporate mainsleaze
spammers can just keep hiring outfits without knowing or caring if their practices are ethical or legal, and not
have to take the heat when it turns out they are not. This is of course absurd, and the hiring corporation
sponsoring the spam can, and should take full legal responsibility.
Lonely Housewives Spammer Hit by the FTC|
Spammer’s Invitation to Date Lonely Housewives Halted by Court at FTC’s Request
An operation that spammed millions of consumers with graphic sexual descriptions to drive traffic to their Web sites to “date lonely housewives” has been halted by the court at the request of the Federal Trade Commission. U.S. District Court Judge Amy St. Eve has ordered a temporary halt to the spamming and has frozen the assets of the outfit, pending a hearing on the FTC’s request for a preliminary and permanent injunction for violations of federal law.
The FTC alleges that the "date lonely wife" spam typically contains short messages or a picture and a hyperlink promoting the “lonely wives” service. The agency charges that the spam violates nearly every provision of the CAN-SPAM Act. It contains misleading headers and deceptive subject lines. It does not contain a link to allow consumers to opt out of receiving future spam, does not contain a valid postal address, and does not contain the disclosure, required by law, that it is sexually explicit. It also includes sexual materials in the initially viewable area of the e-mail, in violation of the FTC’s Adult Labeling Rule. The FTC has asked the court to permanently bar the illegal spam and to order the operation to give up its ill-gotten gains.
In papers filed with the court, the FTC alleges that the operators control more than 180 Web sites that claim to be registered to people around the world. The defendants use an offshore payment processor on the island of St. Kitts in the Caribbean, have foreign bank accounts to collect spam proceeds, and use a Cyprus-based company name and address to front the operation. According to the FTC, they route their spam messages through other people’s computers, falsify contact e-mail addresses, and obscure tools that would allow a recipient to stop or complain about the spam. The FTC alleges that the operation is actually U.S.-based and that the defendants are trying to conceal their identities from U.S. law enforcers.
Federal Trade Commission. May 26, 2005.
Turning the Tide of Spam|
How a small Iowa ISP and two antispam attorneys sued junk e-mailers and won a $1 billion judgement
Beginning in 2000, the Internet service provider (ISP) based in Clinton, Iowa, (population: 35,000) began to be deluged with tens of millions of spam e-mails. A CD-ROM popular among spammers had some 2.8 million e-mail addresses for real and bogus CIS clients. It included names likes firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Setting a financial precedent, a federal judge awarded $1.08 billion in damages to CIS, blaming three companies identified as using its servers to send unsolicited e-mail. None of the companies -- Florida-based Cash Link Systems and TEI Marketing, and Arizona-based AMP Dollar Savings -- ever responded to the court. It didn't matter. The judgment was the largest ever against spammers.
The pain of dealing with spam has eased only slightly for Kramer since the judgment. After all, the authors of "BulkMail4Dummies" have yet to be tracked down, despite an FBI investigation prompted by antispam attorneys Wellborn and Wallace. Kramer estimates he has spent more than $200,000 to repair equipment, upgrade servers, and add bandwidth to handle the continuing spam flood.
Business Week Online. May 30, 2005.
Feds to fight the zombies|
Remote-controlled "zombie" networks operated by bottom-feeding spammers have become a serious problem that requires more industry action, the Federal Trade Commission is expected to announce on Tuesday.
The FTC and more than 30 of its counterparts abroad are planning to contact Internet service providers and urge them to pay more attention to what their customers are doing online. Among the requests: identifying customers with suspicious e-mailing patterns, quarantining those computers and offering help in cleaning the zombie code off the hapless PCs.
To be sure, computers infected by zombie programs and used to churn out spam are a real threat to the future of e-mail. One report by security company Sophos found that compromised PCs are responsible for 40 percent of the world's spam--and that number seems to be heading up, not down.
Will ISPs merely count the number of outbound e-mail messages, or actually peruse the content of e-mail correspondence? E-mail eavesdropping is limited by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act in the United States, but what about other countries without such laws? If these steps don't stop zombie-bots, will the government come back with formal requirements instead of mere suggestions the next time around?
C|Net news.com.com. May 23, 2005.
[Ed. Note: Just how bad is this problem? One major provider, Blueyonder, in the United Kingdon,
recently found most of its IP space listed in a widely used blocklist, SPEWS (Spam Prevention Early Warning System),
for its ongoing failure to deal with the fact its users PCs were infested and spewing millions if not billions
of spam emails out to the rest of the Internet every day.
More than 900,000 customers of U.K. Internet service provider Telewest have been blacklisted by one of the most powerful antispam groups on the Web.
C|Net news.com.com. May 10, 2005.
Maybe Verizon Buying MCI Would be Bad for Spammers|
From newsgroup news.admin.net-abuse.email, May 6, 2005
In article ,
Socks the Whitehouse Cat wrote:
>ICBW, but I just checked Verizon on Spamhaus, in preparation for telling a
reporter what the impact on spam may be with Verizon and MCI merging.
Spamhaus doesn't have many Verizon listings. Have they cleaned up their act?
To which Steve Linford of spamhaus.org replied:
Yes. And they let me know they'll clean up the act of the company they
buy when they get hold of it.
The impact of Verzion buying MCI will bad for spammers, good for us.
Steve Linford. The Spamhaus Project. http://www.spamhaus.org
Trouble Brewing for Kraft and Gevalia Over Coffee Spam|
FOSTER CITY, Calif., April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- A federal lawsuit alleging violations of federal and California anti-spam email laws was filed today in U.S. District Court, Northern District, in San Francisco against Illinois-based Kraft Foods, Inc. (NYSE: KFT - News) and its New Jersey-based subsidiary Victor Th. Engwall & Co., for using illegal spam to advertise Gevalia coffee.
The complaint demands a jury trial and seeks statutory and liquidated damages that could exceed $11.7 million.
Bay Area Attorney John L. Fallat filed the suit on behalf of client Hypertouch, Inc., a small Internet service provider (ISP) in Foster City, Calif., for flooding the ISP's customers with more than 8500 unsolicited and unwanted email advertisements for Gevalia. "This lawsuit is a strong warning to companies that they will still be held accountable even if they pay someone else to do their spamming," says Fallat.
"Despite ongoing complaints, Gevalia has been using illegal spam since 2001," said Hypertouch president and founder Joe Wagner. "Gevalia routinely uses some of the most notorious spammers in the business." The suit alleges that the defendants and/or their agents send spam email advertisements with fraudulent and misleading headers, often to randomly generated and harvested email addresses. "Gevalia's spam is even specially tailored for different targets," Wagner continued. "In January 2005, Microsoft Hotmail users received Gevalia spam that had hidden text copied from the web pages of ABCNews.com to get around spam filters."
"Gevalia provides a perfect example of the deep flaws federal CAN-SPAM Act," Wagner said. "CAN-SPAM put the onus on the public to do what you should never do -- attempt to 'opt-out' of spam. We submitted a brand new, never used email address to Gevalia's opt-out link as a test. Sure enough, that email address, given only to Gevalia, started getting daily spam for all kinds of products and services."
Yahoo News Press Release. April 18, 2005.
Link to hyperouch.com legal information pages.
Following query was posted to news.admin.net-abuse.email usenet newsgroup
April 21, 2005, by an someone trying to track down info on continuing Gevalia spam.
Is there any chance that someone would be willing to see if
Gevalia's "opt-out" address is a real physical location, or just a PO
Box? The address they use in their spam is:
Gevalia: Opt-Out Requests, 1102 Third Ave. Suite 501, Huntington, WV 25701.
which from help wanted ads is apparently the address of one
ClientLogic's call centers. They were running an ad for manager for
that address: "Incumbent provides direct daily supervision to a staff
of approximately 20 Call center representatives handling inbound
However, I'd love to know if that is a real physical postal
address or a PO Box. Anyone live 'round those parts or know someone
who does who'd be willing to take a look?
Spam king jailed for nine years|
A US judge sentenced a man to nine years in prison today for violating anti-spam laws by sending out millions of unsolicited e-mails using fake addresses.
Ms Hicks-Thomas said the sentence under Virginia law was the first prison term in the United States in a spam case. She said the state law on spam was used to model a federal spam law approved by Congress.
"It was not just sending bulk e-mails, he was falsifying the routing information, disguising the origin," Ms Hicks-Thomas said.
Jaynes, who operated using the alias Gaven Stubberfield, was listed by the anti-spam watchdog group Spamhaus as the eighth most prolific spammer in the world.
Ms Hicks-Thomas said prosecutors calculated that Jaynes took in between $US500,000 and $US750,000 ($653,500 to $980,000) a month through the sale of products through the e-mails.
Daily Telegraph, April 9, 2005.
US still leads global spam list|
More than a third of all spam e-mails originate in the US, according to a survey by security firm Sophos.
Computers in the US were responsible for more than 35% of global spam, while South Korea was responsible for almost a quarter of all spam e-mails.
According to Sophos more than 50% of all spam is sent from "zombie" PCs, computers that have been take over by hackers or virus writers.
"The percentage of spam sent from American computers has fallen 12% since the start of the year compared to other countries," said Mr Cluley.
BBC News, April 7, 2005.
Microsoft Helps Nail Florida Spammers|
Microsoft helped snare a pair of Florida spammers, the company announced Monday, as the Florida attorney general charged two men with running scams that enticed people to fraudulent pharmaceutical and cigarette sites.
Attorney General' Charlie Christ's office filed suit against Tampa residents Scott Filary, 25, and Donald Townsend, 34, accusing both of sending more than 65,000 illegal spams during the past year. If found guilty, the pair could face fines of up to $24 million under Florida's anti-spam law, which taps spammers $500 for each illegal message they send to Florida residents.
The suit is the result of a six-month investigation by Christ's office as well as by Microsoft, the latter through honeypot-style accounts on its Hotmail Web-based e-mail service.
TechWeb News, April 5, 2005.
Anti-spam laws bite spammer hard|
The net's self-declared spam king is seeking bankruptcy protection.
Scott Richter, the man behind OptInRealBig.com and billions of junk mail messages, said lawsuits had forced the company into Chapter 11.
OptInRealBig was fighting several legal battles, most notably against Microsoft, which is pushing for millions of dollars in damages.
The company said filing for Chapter 11 would help it try to resolve its legal problems but still keep trading.
BBC News, April 1, 2005.
MCI Reported to Have Booted Sendsafe Off MCI|
Criticism Was Apparently Effective
TCP/IP co-creator Vint Cerf and his employer, MCI, have been under considerable pressure from Spamhaus and other groups for hosting a number of spammers, and spam-software outfits like Send-Safe (from whom it's estimated they make $5 million yearly). The Send-Safe operation was apparently evicted over the weekend, found brief shelter with a Russian hosting company, then Tripod, but is now looking for a new home, a user e-mails us.
theregister.co.uk. March 1, 2005.
dslreports.com. March 3, 2005.
Should ISPs Be Knowingly Profiting From Selling Service To Known Spam Gangs?|
Press Release by Steve Linford SBL February 4, 2005.
Since the release of Sobig spammers have released countless virus
variants turning millions of private home computers into unwilling spam
servers. Crucial in this underground spam world is the stealth bulk
spamming software specially written to take control of private
computers. Crucial to the distribution are a handful of ISPs knowingly
aiding the spam gangs. In this article Spamhaus exposes the author and
distributors of the illegal Send Safe proxy hijacking spamware, and
exposes one major ISP knowingly hosting the proxy spam gang.
This for Spamhaus is the crux of the spam problem, because MCI Worldcom
not only know very well they are hosting the Send Safe spam operation,
MCI's executives know send-safe.com uses the MCI network to sell and
distribute the illegal Send Safe proxy hijacking bulk mailer, yet MCI
has been providing service to send-safe.com for more than a year.
MCI executives have refused to stop providing service to these gangs,
insisting that the sale and distribution of stealth spamming software is
"not against MCI's policy".
For more than a year MCI have flatly refused to stop send-safe.com and
other proxy spam gangs, which has allowed Send Safe to become one of the
most sold anonymous proxy hijacking bulk mailers on the spam scene, and
has had ever more spammers flocking to MCI.
Complete text of Linford (SBL) Press Release.
Linford Response to Criticism of Press Release.
Link to Updated Info on these Issues on Spamhaus Website.