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Mystery over iBill spam scam

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An online payments firm that specialises in processing payments to porn sites has denied that a supposed haul of consumer data originated from its databases.

iBill says "records" of the email addresses of 17m plus net voyeurs recovered by two security companies do not match its own records. It claims only three entries from files separately obtained by Secure Science and SunBelt Software correspond to email addresses on its database, Wired reports.

The recovered files, which were independently discovered by Sunbelt and Secure Science while carrying out security research online, had file names that linked them to iBill. Secure Science found its haul of 17m "customer records" on a website linked to phishing fraudsters. Sunbelt unearthed a similar cache of 1m entries (labeled Ibill_1m.txt) from a separate spamming site.

The files purported to contain the names, phone numbers, snail mail and email addresses of at least 17m porn site subscribers. Credit card numbers did not feature among the haul but payment amounts and credit card types did, Wired reports. Among the supposed records were details of credit card purchases by Diners Club, a form of payment that iBill contends its has never accepted.

Secure Science concedes that its list might be fake. Lance James, of Secure Science, told Wired that a database of supposed customers of pornographic websites might carry a premium when sold on the black market to spam merchants and other cyber crooks. Scammers might have deliberately mislabeled a bogus database that they either invented themselves or obtained from a less attractive source in order to wring more money out of their fellow crooks.

Wired matched a small batch of records from the Sunbelt-recovered database to a set of mortgage prospects found on an underground spam website called specialham.com. This, along with spammer complaints about the sale of a fake iBill list, supports the theory that the lists, which are been offered online for $300, are bogus. Other offers refer to supposed records of customers of another porn payment firm, CCBill. CCBill, like iBill, denies any security breach. ®

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