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Targeted Spam

Authorities swoop on illicit Wolverhampton SPAM FARM

UK data privacy experts have raided an SMS spam farm blamed for spewing out more than 350,000 nuisance messages to mobiles. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) seized hundreds of SIM cards on Thursday, after raiding a SIM farm in offices in Wolverhampton. Initial estimates suggest the impounded kit could have been used …
John Leyden, 27 May 2014
Spam

AOL Mail locks down email servers to deal with spam tsunami

If you've been getting a lot of spam from AOL emails recently it's not because you've fallen into a time rift and it's the nineties all over again – the company has confirmed that it has been under an intensive spoofing attack. The problems started three days ago when large volumes of email, apparently from AOL Mail's servers, …
Iain Thomson, 23 Apr 2014
Spam

Chinese cops cuff 1,500 in fake base station spam raid

China’s police have arrested over 1,500 people on suspicion of using fake base stations to send out mobile SMS spam. The current crackdown, began in February, according to Reuters. Citing a Ministry of Public Security missive, the newswire says a group operating in north-east Liaoning province, bordering North Korea, is …
Phil Muncaster, 26 Mar 2014

AOL confirms security breach from spam attack

AOL has issued a warning to users that their personal information has been stolen by attackers, a week after the security of its servers was questioned. The net giant on Monday said that the same hackers behind last week's spam deluge were able to infiltrate its servers and lift information including email addresses, contact …
Shaun Nichols, 28 Apr 2014

Not your father's spam: Trojan slingers attach badness to attachment WITHIN attachment

Cybercrooks are upping the ante by loading malware as an attachment inside another attachment in a bid to slip past security defences. A new variant of the Upatre Trojan comes bundled in spammed messages that imitate emails from known banks such as Lloyds Bank and Wells Fargo. The .MSG file of the malicious emails contains …
John Leyden, 08 Apr 2014
Targeted Spam

Spam drops as legit biz dumps mass email ads: Only the dodgy remain

Spam email was down in volume last year, but junk mail messages still comprise two in three items of electronic communication sent over the interwebs. Kaspersky Lab reports the portion of spam in email flows was as high as 69.6 per cent in 2013 – which is 2.5 percentage points lower than 2012. The biggest sources of spam were …
John Leyden, 24 Jan 2014
Indonesia's spiffing No Spam logo

Google views, reviews YouTube viewers' views with view to killing off spam shams

Google is attempting to stamp out fake views on its video-sharing website YouTube - which is reportedly about to get a new boss in the shape of the company's ad honcho Susan Wojcicki. The ad giant claimed that YouTube was "a place for meaningful human interaction" and as such shouldn't be tainted by spam. Google said in a blog …
Kelly Fiveash, 05 Feb 2014
The Ultima Tool Chest's fridge

Cybercrooks slide fingers into TELLIES+FRIDGES, spam splurge ensues

Miscreants have launched an Internet of Things-based cyberattack involving household "smart" appliances. The global spam distribution campaign involved more than 750,000 malicious email communications coming from more than 100,000 everyday consumer gadgets. Items such as home-networking routers, connected multi-media centres, …
John Leyden, 17 Jan 2014

You have a Skype voicemail. PSYCHE! It's just some fiendish Trojan-flinging spam

A spam run of fake Skype voicemail alert emails actually comes packed with malware, a UK police agency warns. Action Fraud said the zip file attachments come contaminated with a variant of the notorious ZeuS banking Trojan. Messages typically come with the subject line “You received a new message from Skype voicemail service”. …
John Leyden, 28 Nov 2013
Indonesia's spiffing No Spam logo

Payday loan firms are the WORST. Ugh, my mobe's FILLED with filthy SPAM

Messages from payday loan and gambling companies have come to dominate incident of mobile spam in the UK over recent months. SMS payday loan spam continues to be a mainstay of UK text message spammers, according to a study by Cloudmark. Although Office of Fair Trading investigations and related clampdown saw 19 of the 50 …
John Leyden, 28 Oct 2013
Spam

SPAM supposedly spotted leaving the fridge

It's still silly season, it seems. Tell the world that a bunch of small business broadband routers have been compromised and recruited into botnets, and the world yawns. Add in a television or a multi-media centre, and there's a faint flicker of interest – perhaps a raised eyebrow, but not much more. Add in the word “ …
Homer Simpson reading on PC

How I poured a client's emails straight into the spam bin – with one Friday evening change

By misunderstanding how a single word was being used, I caused a boo-boo that counts as "really stepped in it this time". After a lot of research and testing, I thought that months of "the spam filter is crap, make all the spam go away" warring with "the spam filter is too restrictive because $client can't send me his JavaScript …
Trevor Pott, 04 Jun 2014

Stale Blackhole leads to dried-up spam, claim badhat-probers

Security researchers at Trend Micro reckon that Blackhole, cybercrooks' preferred tool for running drive-by download attacks from compromised websites, is no longer being updated. This means the utility - which was available for rent at around $50 a day - has quickly gone stale. Nature abhors a vacuum, though, and malware- …
John Leyden, 12 Nov 2013

JAILBREAK! US smut spam king Kilbride flees minimum security prison

A manhunt is underway in California following the escape of convicted porn spammer Jeffrey Kilbride from a minimum security prison camp within the Lompoc Federal Correction Complex. Kilbride and his associate James Schaffer were jailed in 2007 on a variety of charges related to their long-running email business, including fraud …
Neil McAllister, 29 Dec 2013
Targeted Spam

ICO decides against probe of Santander email spam scammers

Santander customers say they are continuing to be deluged with Trojans and other junk to email addresses exclusively used with the bank months after the problem first surfaced back in November. At least two Reg readers have put in complaints to the Information Commissioner's Office. But the data privacy watchdog told us that it …
John Leyden, 21 Mar 2014

NatWest 'spam' email cockup got me slapped with late payment fee, says angry Reg reader

NatWest customers should watch out for lost credit card statements as an IT cockup has been blamed for one Register reader getting smacked with a late payment fee. A reader told The Reg how he was fined by NatWest for missing the regular payment on his credit card. The reader, who wishes to remain anonymous, receives his …
Gavin Clarke, 28 Jan 2014
A boat full of Fail

Mavericks Mail's spam-spewing 'flaw' was scripted by red-faced user

FastMail, the cloudy messaging outfit that earlier this week proclaimed it had found a nasty bug in the way OS X Mavericks' Mail client talks IMAP, has retracted its analysis. The title of the new post, “Apple mail 'bug' turns out to be user script after all” tells you most of what you need to know about the situation. Here's …
Simon Sharwood, 31 Oct 2013

Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters

Virgin Media has apologised for a blunder that resulted in some of its customers being bombarded with a deluge of emails. The broadband biz emailed Brits who use its virgin.net email service, which is provided by Google, to warn them of some changes: from the end of April, Virgin Broadband customers won't be able to log into …
Indonesia's spiffing No Spam logo

Guess which major US telco ISN'T cracking down on premium SMS spam?

AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile have agreed to stop charging their customers for premium text messages (PSMS), a practice that costs US folks an estimated $2bn in excess charges a year. The ban isn't total – Verizon isn't stopping the practice because it says it is still in the process of winding down its PSMS service. But it's not a …
Iain Thomson, 23 Nov 2013
The Register breaking news

Belarus becomes world's top country ... for SPAM

Belarus has eclipsed the US to become the biggest single source of global spam, according to cloud-based email and web security firm AppRiver. Junk volumes from the landlocked former Soviet republic, which borders Poland and Russia, hit an all-time high on 13 April and have sustained this level since then. In January, AppRiver …
John Leyden, 30 May 2013
The Register breaking news

Does Gmail's tarted-up tab makeover bust anti-spam laws?

Anti-spam experts are openly wondering whether Google's redesigned web mail service Gmail violates US laws against bulk unsolicited messages. The CAN-SPAM Act (passed in 2003) makes the mass distribution of commercial electronic mail legal as long as the messages are properly formatted, include correct contact information and …
John Leyden, 14 Aug 2013
First text

UK payday loaners cop MEGA £175K fine for 'misleading' SMS spam

A UK-based payday loans firm has received a £175,000 fine after it was found to have sent millions of spam text messages that provoked thousands of complaints. First Financial violated The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations governing electronic marketing by sending SMS messages without consent. The messages …
John Leyden, 17 Dec 2013
The Register breaking news

Rotten spam causing more infections than ever – study

Anti-spam tools have evolved to a degree where many of us hardly see much spam anymore. But when we do, the threat posed by those messages is greater than it has ever been, according to a new report from independent security firm AV-Test. The report, entitled "Spam – More Dangerous than Ever Before," was based on an 18-month …
Neil McAllister, 11 Apr 2013
The Register breaking news

USA is the best country in the WORLD... for sending spam

The US has reclaimed its position as the world's leading spam-relaying country, but you'd be wasting your time looking for junkmail crimelords... In the last three months, almost one-fifth (18.3 per cent) of all global spam has been pushed through computers in the US, according to figures from anti-virus firm Sophos. However, …
John Leyden, 07 Mar 2013
South Korean spam

Spam, a lot of it: Bubble tea is the Seoul of wit

Your Spam Manager is holding 4 messages. Oh here we go... Subject: Customer Invoice Payment From an email address beginning "realestatetips"? I think not. Subject: PLEASE Update BANK DetaiLS Gosh yes that looks genuine, must open that later and run the attachment. Subject: Carreer oppurtunity As a literary agent, I suppose …
Alistair Dabbs, 14 Feb 2014

McDonalds fried for serving spam

Australia’s Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has flogged McDonalds with lettuce leaves after the fast food concern didn’t properly think of the children with an online promotion that served up big helpings of spam emails. The case came about after McDonalds’ antipodean outpost cooked up happymeal.com.au and baked in a ‘ …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Dec 2012
Blackmail image

Send Bitcoin or we'll hate-spam you on Yelp, say crims

Businesses are being served printed 'Notice of Extortion' letters demanding Bitcoins to avoid 'severe and irreparable' damage to their reputation. A handful of US Pizza restaurants have reported the scam to local newspapers, and to Reddit. The letters appear to come from the same extortionist. The letters demanded payment of …
Darren Pauli, 27 Jun 2014

LinkedIn fires back against 'hack-and-spam' US class-action sue bomb

LinkedIn senior director of litigation had to work over the weekend after a class action lawsuit was filed alleging the firm "hacks" into members email address-books before spamming out marketing emails. The class action – filed in the US, in the Northern District Court of California (PDF, via Bloomberg) on behalf of four US- …
John Leyden, 24 Sep 2013
The Register breaking news

Boffins use HOT maths MODELS to predict spam of the future

Australian computer boffins reckon game theory can be applied to build better spam filters. The new spam classifier, developed by Professor Sanjay Chawla, Fei Wang and Wei Liu of the University of Sydney, outsmarts would-be spammers by predicting the likely pattern of future spam runs by learning from past attacks. The two …
John Leyden, 23 Aug 2013
Spam

Malware-flingers target gullible corporate bods with office printer spam

Sneaky cybercrooks are disguising links to malicious sites in spam emails posing as messages from Hewlett-Packard ScanJet printers. The attack takes advantage of the fact corporate users often receive emailed messages from scanners and multi-function printers located in their own offices, which contain attachments of the scan …
John Leyden, 09 Apr 2013
The Register breaking news

Merde! Dummkopf! Google Translate used as spam cloak

Spammers are using Google Translate to disguise links to dodgy websites. All sorts of internet pond life, particularly purveyors of blue pills purporting to pump blokes' performance between the sheets, are relying on the reputation of Google's language translation service to smuggle web links through mail filters. Security …
John Leyden, 02 Apr 2013
Sina Weibo logo

Sina's self-censorship scheme swamped with spam, not rumours

It's become fashionable for the likes of Facebook and Twitter to reveal how often spooks ask them to retrieve data. Chinese micro-blogging giant Sina Weibo has now more or less done likewise and revealed its army of 5,500 community reviewers have been more busy dealing with spam complaints over the past year than politically …
Phil Muncaster, 10 Jul 2013
Spam image

Microsoft to shutter security email feed on July 1

Microsoft will suspend a 12 year-old email mailing list that offers news of security updates, in a decision possibly tied to tougher Canadian anti-spam laws. As of July 1st 2014, sysadmins and infosec bods will get their news from a Redmond RSS feed to receive update of new Microsoft security alerts. "As of July 1, 2014, due to …
Darren Pauli, 29 Jun 2014
The Register breaking news

India crowned global spam-spewing zombie king AGAIN

India has cemented its position as the world's biggest fire hose of spam email, according to new figures. Hacked computers in the republic working on behalf of crooks spewed more than one in ten of the globe's spam mails in the last quarter, reported web security firm Sophos. India is home to 5.3 per cent of the world’s …
John Leyden, 25 Jul 2012
The Register breaking news

Payment protection tops list of SMS spam scams

AdaptiveMobile, a company which spends most of its time filtering out junk SMS messages, has written up a list of the scams hitting GSM handsets, with mis-sold payment protection insurance topping the list. The spam texts differ significantly from the usual email spam in being more direct, claiming intimate knowledge of the …
Bill Ray, 17 Oct 2012

Dropbox brings in crack team to probe spam leakage

Dropbox has begun investigating complaints that users are receiving spam to email addresses only associated with their accounts at the file-sharing service. The spam, sent to addresses only used for Dropbox accounts, advertises a particular gambling website, according to users on Dropbox's forum. The behaviour has sparked …
John Leyden, 18 Jul 2012

OS X Mavericks mail client spews INFINITE SPAM

Apple’s update to OS X, Mavericks, has gone rather better than Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 upgrade. Except if you try to use its email client, the prosaically-named “Mail”. One complainant is cloud email outfit FastMail, a company that offers hosted email. One can point any client at its service, or use webmail. The former scenario …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Oct 2013
The Register breaking news

Latest scam spam ploy: Bogus pay-by-phone London parking receipts

Bogus "pay by phone parking receipts" doing the rounds by email and targeted at UK users are actually designed to spread malware, security watchers warn. The spam campaign is designed to trick recipients into viewing a fictitious list of parking transactions, contained in a malicious attachment. "Upon executing the malicious …
John Leyden, 28 Nov 2012
Groupon's stock price during its first day of availability

Groupon deal spam slapped by Australian regulator

Groupon's troubles just got a little deeper and more widespread, after Australia's Communications and Media Authority (which likes to be called 'the ACMA') issued a “formal warning” that the floundering group buying outfit needs to get its email house in order. The ACMA issues formal warnings as a prelude to unholstering its …
Simon Sharwood, 14 Mar 2013
The Register breaking news

Mega spam-spewing Grum botnet finally KO'd

Security researchers have dealt a knockout blow to Grum, one of the most prolific spam-distribution botnets. Command-and-control servers in the Netherlands were taken out on Monday, but that still left zombie control nodes in Russia and Panama up and running. According to security researchers, pressure was applied on a …
John Leyden, 19 Jul 2012
The Register breaking news

Report: Feeble spam filters catch less junk mail

Enterprise spam filters are blocking less junk mail, according to independent tests from Virus Bulletin. During a comparative of 20 corporate email filtering products, several missed more than twice as much spam as in previous editions of the VBSpam tests. Virus Bulletin reckons the drop in performance might be down to improved …
John Leyden, 20 Mar 2012
The Register breaking news

Adobe marketing cloud now to rain spam following Neolane slurp

Adobe has said that it will slurp up digital marketing software firm Neolane into its marketing cloud for $600m in cold, hard cash. Neolane, which operates a software platform for managing digital marketing campaigns across web, email, social and other channels, will be shoved into the Adobe Marketing Cloud, the firm said. The …

Like WhatsApp? Meet 'desktop' version... and his BANK ACCOUNT RAIDING Trojan pal

Scammers have slung together a scam designed to trick users into running malware disguised as a "desktop version" of the ultra-popular WhatsApp mobile messaging app. Links promoted through a run of spam emails that began appearing last week actually lead to a banking Trojan rather than a PC version of the mobile-only app, Trend …
John Leyden, 26 Feb 2014
Spam image

'Unsolicited texts' outrage: Man fined £4k for DPA breach

The owner of a marketing company which allegedly sent "millions of unsolicited text messages" was prosecuted for "failing to notify the ICO of changes to his notification" at Willesden Magistrates Court last week. Jayesh Shah, of Pune, India, was fined £4,000 for a breach of the Data Protection Act, and ordered to pay costs of £ …
John Leyden, 24 Jul 2014
balaclava_thief_burglar

Koobface worm-flinging gangster linked to pharma spam ops

What do you do after you've made millions through one of the most technically sophisticated strains of malware ever unleashed onto the internet? Make millions pushing penis-enhancing pills, according to more than one security researcher. The findings suggest at least one of the crooks behind Koobface has branched out to become …
John Leyden, 26 Aug 2013
The Register breaking news

Google releases 'Disavow links' tool to fix SEO spam

Google has used the PubCon conference in Las Vegas to release a "Disavow Links" tool, allowing webmasters dump links into their site that are hurting search rankings. "Most people should not need to use this," said Matt Cutts, head of webspam at Google. "We build our algorithms such that in most cases we handle things just fine …
Iain Thomson, 16 Oct 2012
The Register breaking news

Manchester biz raided in text message spam clampdown

A clampdown on text spam has led to a police raid on offices in Urmston, Manchester, and the seizure of equipment by the Information Commissioner's Office. The UK data privacy watchdog was given enhanced powers last year to tackle the growing problem of junk SMS messages, including the authority to ask mobile operators for …
John Leyden, 02 Mar 2012
Canada Day celebration

Redmond reinstates infosec mailing list after Canadian law panic

Microsoft has resurrected its Lazarus security mailing list, following apparent confusion over Canada's Anti-Spam Law (CASL) that came into effect on July 1st. Redmond reversed an announcement Friday that it would shutter the Advanced Notification Service mailing list which would have forced email fans to get their infosec fix …
Darren Pauli, 01 Jul 2014
Spam image

Boffins pen 'Guide to better spamming'

Ignoring the manual and keeping your 'bot nimble are some of the tips a quartet of security researchers have recommended to help spam reach inboxes more effectively. The recommendations were some of the findings in studies by a research group into the relationships between email harvesters, botmasters and spammers and the …
Darren Pauli, 02 May 2014
The Register breaking news

Asian countries dominate global spam deluge

Asian countries collectively relayed more than half (50.1 per cent) of the world's spam last quarter. Although the USA remains the single worst offender, lax security in Asian nations meant many of the botnet drones spewing junk mail were located in countries such as South Korea and India. Asian countries disgorged 50.1 per cent …
John Leyden, 01 Nov 2011