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Targeted Social Engineering Attacks Against Corporations Reach Record Levels

A recent report by iDefense Labs estimates that there have been 66 distinct spear phishing attacks between February 2007 and June 2008, with the rate of attacks continuing to accelerate. Spear phishing groups have claimed more than 15,000 corporate victims in 15 months, with victim losses exceeding $100,000 in some cases. Victims include Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, government agencies, and legal firms. more

Postage is Due for Companies Sending Email

Companies will soon have to buy the electronic equivalent of a postage stamp if they want to be certain that their e-mail will be delivered to many of their customers. America Online and Yahoo, two of the world's largest providers of e-mail accounts, are about to start using a controversial system that gives preferential treatment to messages from companies that pay from 1/4 of a cent to a penny each to have them delivered. The senders must contact only people who have agreed to receive their messages, or risk being blocked entirely. more

Experts See No Spam Declines After Shutdown of Largest Spam Operation

Last week's bust of the largest spam operation in the world has had no measurable impact on global spam volumes, according to reports. The spam gang, known by authorities and security experts as HerbalKing, was reported to have been responsible for one-third of all spam. One of the ringleaders, New Zealander Lance Atkinson, 26, who lives in Pelican Waters in Queensland, has had his US assets frozen by a U.S. district court at the request of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which also succeeded in having the spam network shut down via an injunction. more

US Number One Country Hosting Malware in 2008, According to a New Security Report

The latest security report from Sophos suggests that more malware is hosted on U.S. websites and more spam is relayed from American computers, than any other country. As evidence of this, when an American Internet company, McColo Corp., accused of collaborating with spammers and hackers, was taken offline last month, there was a staggering 75% drop in global spam volume. more

Switzerland Leapfrogged Hong Kong as the Most Spammed Country, Says Recent Study

According to the most recent MessageLabs Intelligence monthly report, Switzerland has become the most spanned nation. From the report: "In June, Switzerland leapfrogged Hong Kong as the most spammed country with levels reaching 84.8% of all email. Many countries received a slight decrease in spam levels, with a few increases elsewhere, for example, spam in UAE rose by 7.4%, the highest increase this month. Spam levels in the US reached 68.8% in June, 77.8% in Canada and 74.3% in the UK. Germany's spam rate reached 73.5% and 73.2% in the Netherlands. Spam levels in Australia were 66.9%, 76.6% in China and 70.7% in Japan." more

Soloway Court Case Reveals the Sophisticated World of Online Fraud

Testimony received during the sentencing hearing for notorious spammer Robert Alan Soloway has offered an inside look at the big business of online fraud. Although anti-spam efforts implemented by ISPs have deterred many small-time spammers, sophisticated players remain active and they have developed tools to make their efforts easier. From the stand on Monday, investigators revealed some of the techniques that Soloway allegedly used to send out massive amounts of email. After the government seized Soloway's computer servers, investigators found files with as many as 10 million email addresses on each server along with Dark Mailer software on each server. more

Canada Emerging as a Haven for Spammers

Last month, a California court awarded social networking giant Facebook $873 million (U.S.) in damages arising from the activities of a single spamming organization. The decision garnered headlines in Canada because the spammer targeted in the lawsuit operates out of Montreal. While Facebook acknowledges it is unlikely to recover much of the awarded damages, the case has put the spotlight on Canada's failure to introduce long-overdue antispam legislation. more

22,000 New Malware Samples Detected Every Day in 2008, Says New Report

Security firm PandaLabs reports today that it received more malware in the first eight months of 2008 than in the previous 17 years combined -- Trojans being the leading cause of malware infections. In 2008, Panda Security's malware analysis and detection laboratory states that it found an average of 35,000 malware samples each day, 22,000 of which were new infections. By the year's end, the total count of malware threats detected exceeded 15 million. more

Antispam Confab Looks Beyond Filters

The fight against spam, phishing and e-mail fraud should focus on economic incentives and aiding law enforcement, according to attendees at a conference examining the problem this week.

Speakers at MIT's 2006 Spam Conference were notably cognizant of the recent proposals of white lists and AOL's Goodmail, a pay per e-mail service offering preferential treatment in e-mail delivery for marketers. It is also one year since the implementation of Can-Spam, the federal law that sets e-mail marketing standards and makes it less complicated for law enforcement to go after John Doe spammers. more

Engaging Consumers in Cyber Security: It's Up to You

In a perfect world, consumers recognize authentic emails from fake, update their operating system, browser and anti-virus software, and have a healthy skepticism about the safety of the Internet. The bad guys hate perfect, so we should be working with consumers to stop them. ... Organizations like mine are joining forces to recruit consumers -- who are also your customers and employees -- in the fight against cybercrime. more

United Nations calls for ISPs to Police Spammers

The UN on Wednesday recommended enforceable codes of conduct for ISPs as a way to cut down on spam.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN organization responsible for global telecoms standards, recommended that ISPs be required to enforce codes of conduct regarding their customers, and block spammers' email access. more

Criminals Regain Control of Srizbi Botnet, Spam Volume Rising

Experts are that the spam volumes may spike significantly over the next few days now that one of the world's largest networks of compromised computers used for blasting out junk email has been brought back to life, reports Brian Krebs of the Washington Post. "The Srizbi botnet, a collection of more than half a million hacked PCs that were responsible for relaying approximately 40 percent of all spam sent worldwide, was knocked offline two weeks ago due to pressure from the computer security community." more

Spamhaus Case Could Test ICANN

ICANN has agreed that only registrars can suspend individual domain names. It believes that there is no way it could enforce the proposed court order. But as the organization responsible for the Internet's top-level domains, ICANN does have the authority to accredit registrars like Tucows, based in Toronto.

Princeton University's Edward Felten believes it is possible that ICANN could be forced to comply with this type of court order.  more

Judge Rejects Domain Name Suspension of Spamhaus

A federal judge presiding over a spam dispute rejected a marketing company's request to suspend the domain name of Spamhaus, an anti-spam group that ignored an $11.7 million judgment against it.

...The Spamhaus Project did not bother defending itself and refused to recognize Kocoras' $11.7 million judgment against it, saying the court had no jurisdiction over the U.K.-based group. So e360 Insight asked that the judge order the spamhaus.org domain suspended. more

Coalition Recommends Tools to Combat Phishing

ISPs and e-commerce sites can employ more tools to combat phishing scams, including "white lists" of legitimate Websites and using false identification information to scam the scammers, according to a report released Thursday.

The report, released by a coalition of consumer groups, technology vendors, financial services organizations and law enforcement agencies, also calls on Internet companies to step up their consumer education efforts. more