Feeds

US Dems fill inboxes with 419 scams

democrats.org co-opted

Website security in corporate America

Scammers pumping out emails that try to trick recipients into parting with large sums of cash are getting a helping hand from the Democratic National Committee.

According to a researcher with anti-spam company Cloudmark, 419 fraudsters have been relaying a "significant" amount of messages through the democrats.org domain name. The abuse, which dates back at least to the beginning of this month, helps evade filters that internet service providers employ to block the messages.

"Unfortunately, because they're able to relay mail through the Democratic Party server, it does affect the Democratic Party's IP reputation, as well as their domain sending reputation," Jamie Tomasello, Cloudmark's abuse operations manager, told The Register. "I was surprised."

One such message purports to come from Mrs. Amina Adan and seeks help in recovering $25m in assets belonging to her late husband, said to be the former Somalia security minister who died of an explosives attack in Central Somalia in June.

A second email carries the subject Sign up to volunteer for the Democratic Party and claims to be sent on behalf of a "a wealthy white farmer who was murdered on the land dispute in Zimbabwe." Other messages try to con recipients with a Microsoft lottery scam.

A spokesman for the Democratic Party had no comment. It's unclear if he alerted the party's webmaster so the open mail relay can be closed.

The messages were sent courtesy of this page, which allows anyone with an internet connection to send emails. The PHP script employs no CAPTCHA, or other measure to help ensure there is a real human being behind each email that gets funneled through the service. The service allows messages to be sent to 10 addresses as a time and even provides a way for people to import contacts they have stored in their address book.

As the use of spam filters has grown over the past few years, fraudsters sending large amounts of email have struggled to find low-cost ways to get around those protections. Carelessness at democrats.org is providing some relief.

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Blood-crazed Microsoft axes Trustworthy Computing Group
Security be not a dirty word, me Satya. But crevice, bigod...
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.