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Analyzing The Inbox of a Spammer's Domain

Consider this scenario: you need a domain name for your site so you go to your favorite domain registrar's website and upon a quick search find that your third choice is actually available! You quickly pull your credit card and register the name. Everything is good and you can't wait to have your new domain start pointing to your site and represent your official email address. But not so fast -- some of the recent events are revealing that, these days, when you are registering a domain name there is one more critical thing you need to do: check under the hood! more»

AOL Fires Across the Bow of Spam-Friendly ISPs

The North American Network Operators Group (NANOG) conference, a gathering of Internet Service Provider (ISP) engineers and vendors convenes three times a year for mostly technical conversation along with social networking. The recent NANOG conference in Reston Virginia saw some unusually direct talk about Spam and the ISPs that tolerate it from America Online's Postmaster, Charles Stiles. more»

Study Finds Spammers Use P2P Harvesting to Spam Millions

A recent study conducted by Blue Security reports how Internet users can unknowingly expose their contacts' emails addresses to Spammers while sharing files, music, games and DVDs over Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks. The study has uncovered hundreds of incidents where files containing email addresses were made accessible in P2P networks. more»

When Registrars Look the Other Way, Drug-Dealers Get Paid

Since November of last year we have been discussing the problem of illicit and illegal online pharmacy support by ICANN-accredited Registrars. In several articles and direct contact with the Registrars we have tirelessly tried to convey the seriousness of this problem, many listened, some did not... With the background information already known, the case presented here is much more specific and concerns EvaPharmacy, which was until recently, the world's largest online criminal pharmacy network. more»

Sender-ID Back from the Dead

With the closure of IETF's MARID group a month ago, many of us have left Microsoft's Sender-ID standard for the dead. After being rejected by the Apache Foundation and the Debian Project over licensing issues, and causing the closure of MARID for some of the same issues (in addition to already long running technical ones), some thought that Microsoft may have just buried it and gone on to better things like IETF's new MAILSIG group (in formation). But just like the ghost of Hamlet's father it just refuses to die and now it looks like it is coming back to life in a new reincarnation... more»

2004: The Year That Promised Email Authentication

As the year comes to a close, it is important to reflect on what has been one of the major actions in the anti-spam arena this year: the quest for email authentication. With email often called the "killer app" of the Internet, it is important to reflect on any major changes proposed, or implemented that can affect that basic tool that many of us have become to rely on in our daily lives. And, while many of the debates involved myriads of specialized mailing lists, standards organizations, conferences and even some government agencies, it is important for the free and open source software (FOSS) community as well as the Internet community at large, to analyze and learn lessons from the events surrounding email authentication in 2004. more»

An Open Letter to Yahoo!'s Postmaster

In June 2004, Yahoo! and a number of other companies got together to announce the Anti-Spam Technical Alliance or ASTA. While it appears to have been largely silent since then, ASTA did at least publish an initial set of best practices the widespread adoption of which could possibly have had some impact on spam... The majority of these are clearly aimed at ISPs and end users, but some are either generally or specifically relevant to email providers such as Yahoo!, Google or Microsoft... The problem: Since February this year, we have been receiving a significant quantity of spam emails from Yahoo!'s servers. In addition to their transport via the Yahoo! network, all originate from email addresses in yahoo.com, yahoo.co.uk and one or two other Yahoo! domains. Every such message bears a Yahoo! DomainKeys signature... more»

Does CAN-SPAM Really Matter?

As a daily and enthusiastic reader of The New York Times, I was disappointed to read their February 1 article on CAN-SPAM entitled, "Law Barring Junk E-Mail Allows a Flood Instead" (subscription required). The theme of the article was, as the title suggests, that enacting CAN-SPAM was worse than having no laws at all. The article really missed the point on several fronts. more»

ICANN Ordered by Illinois Court to Suspend Spamhaus.org

Apparently, at this stage, it is only a proposed ruling. But I am no lawyer. This story has been discussed before, when Spamhaus, which is located in the UK, was sued in the US by a spammer. They refused to come before the court as "they do no business in Illinois, and are located in the UK...After this court ruling, Spamhaus.org was under a DDoS attack, in my opinion for the purpose of preventing users from reaching the information it provided about the court ruling. This was done along-side a Joe Job, sending fake email appearing to come from Spamhaus's CEO... more»

EFF on Goodmail: Further Confusing an Already Confused Issue

Cindy's piece on the EFF website seems to be a bit of a pastiche, with elements taken out of various articles (some outright wrong, some merely misinformed) that have been doing the rounds of the media for quite a while now about Goodmail. She started off comparing AOL and Goodmail with the old email hoax about congress taxing email. That same line was used in a CircleID post by Matt Blumberg, CEO & Chairman of Returnpath... Various other quotes from different places - Richard Cox from Spamhaus on CNN for example. However a lot of the quotes in those articles are being based on wrong or out of context assumptions, starting with one that goes "AOL is going to remove all its existing whitelists and force people to use Goodmail". more»

ClamAV and the Case of the Missing Mail

Some email discussion lists were all atwitter yesterday, as Sourcefire's open-source anti-virus engine ClamAV version 0.94.x reached its end-of-life. Rather than simply phase this geriatric version out the development team put to halt instances of V0.94 in production yesterday, April 15, 2010. In other words, the ClamAV developers caused version .94 to stop working entirely, and, depending upon the implementation, that meant email to systems using ClamAV also stopped flowing. more»

New Study Revealing Behind the Scenes of Phishing Attacks

The following is an overview of the recent Honeynet Project and Research Alliance study called 'Know your Enemy:Phishing' aimed at discovering practical information on the practice of phishing. This study focuses on real world incidents based on data captured and analyzed from the UK and German Honeynet Project revealing how attackers build and use their infrastructure for Phishing based attacks. "This data has helped us to understand how phishers typically behave and some of the methods they employ to lure and trick their victims. We have learned that phishing attacks can occur very rapidly, with only limited elapsed time between the initial system intrusion and a phishing web site going online..." more»

The New Hong Kong Anti-Spam Law, and a Small Fly in the Ointment

Well, it has been quite a while since first the Hong Kong OFTA (in 2004) and then CITB (in 2006) issued requests for public comment about a proposed UEM (Unsolicited Electronic Messaging) bill to be introduced in Hong Kong, for the purpose of regulating unsolicited email, telephone and fax solicitations. We're a large (worldwide) provider of email and spam filtering - but we're based in Hong Kong, and any regulation there naturally gets tracked by us rather more actively than laws elsewhere. We sent in our responses to both these agencies... The bill is becoming law now - and most of it looks good... There's one major fly in the ointment though... more»

History of SMTP

The following excerpt is from the Free Software Magazine, March 2005 Issue, written by Kirk Strauser. To read the entire article, you may download the magazine here [PDF]. Also thanks to Yakov Shafranovich for making us aware of this publication. "Spam has existed since at least 1978, when an eager DEC sales representative sent an announcement of a product demonstration to a couple hundred recipients. The resulting outcry was sufficient to dissuade most users from repeating the experiment. This changed in the late 1990s: millions of individuals discovered the internet and signed up for inexpensive personal accounts and advertisers found a large and willing audience in this new medium." more»

Iran Blocks HTTPS, 30 Million Reported Losing Email Access

Iran is reported to have started blocking access to websites that use HTTPS and as a result making popular and secure online services as well as online banking sites inaccessible. An Iranian news agency reports that over 30 million people in the country have lost access to foreign email services such as Gmail, Yahoo mail and Hotmail. Anything based outside the country that uses a secure connection via HTTPS is blocked, according to news reports and a thread on Hacker News. Secure sites based within Iran are reportedly still accessible. The shutdown is said to be timed to coincide with the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, and is believed to be temporary. more»