QuickLinks - Junk mail (spam)
QuickLinks - Junk mail (spam)
Issue no. 341 - 9 July 2005
- Porn spam on the rise again
The volume of pornographic spam almost trebled during May, according to newly published research.Security vendor Clearswift reported in its monthly email analysis that spam relating to pornography rose from 5.6 per cent to over 14 per cent of total spam sent in May. Healthcare spam remains the dominant form at 44 per cent.
Issue no. 340 - 23 June 2005
- Microsoft pushes spam-filtering technology
Sometime around November, Hotmail and MSN will flag as potential spam those messages that do not have the tag to verify the sender. The move is meant to spur adoption of Sender ID. Sender ID is a specification for verifying the authenticity of e-mail by ensuring the validity of the server from which the e-mail came. Critics say Sender ID, which includes technology developed by Microsoft, is not an accepted standard and has many shortcomings.
Issue no. 339 - 29 May 2005
- UK - Spam blacklist targets Telewest
Almost one million net addresses owned by UK cable firm Telewest have been blacklisted by an anti-spam group. The Spam Prevention Early Warning System blacklisted the addresses because many of the machines using them have been hijacked by spammers. The army of remotely-controllable machines have probably been recruited by viruses and worms.
- US - Lonely housewives spam halted by court
An operation that spammed millions of consumers with graphic sexual descriptions to drive traffic to their Web sites to "date lonely housewives" has been halted by the court at the request of the Federal Trade Commission. A U.S. District Court Judge has ordered a temporary halt to the spamming and has frozen the assets of the outfit, pending a hearing on the FTC's request for a preliminary and permanent injunction for violations of federal law. The FTC alleges that the spam contains short messages or a picture and a hyperlink promoting the "lonely wives" service. The agency charges that the spam violates nearly every provision of the CAN-SPAM Act. It contains misleading headers and deceptive subject lines. It does not contain a link to allow consumers to opt out of receiving future spam, does not contain a valid postal address, and does not contain the disclosure, required by law, that it is sexually explicit. It also includes sexual materials in the initially viewable area of the e-mail, in violation of the FTC's Adult Labeling Rule.
Issue no. 338 - 7 May 2005
- Anti-spam assault spans Asia-Pacific
Twelve Asia-Pacific communications and Internet agencies have joined the Australian Communications Authority in signing a memorandum of understanding - the Seoul-Melbourne Anti-Spam Agreement - on cooperation in countering spam.
- File-sharers facing spam attacks
Research has revealed that peer-to-peer (P2P) networks are proving a lucrative hunting ground for spammers. Start-up Blue Security has found that junk mailers are actively harvesting and spamming e-mail addresses they find on file-sharing networks. The address books they are exploiting are inadvertently being sharing on the peer-to-peer networks by novice users.
- UK laws are failing to deter spam
UK spam laws are failing to stop spammers, say campaigners. According to anti-spam organisation Spamhaus, loopholes in UK law render legislation useless in the fight against spammers. The majority of spam originates from the US but there are a handful of hardcore UK-based spammers. Since the law came into force over a year ago no UK spammers have been fined or prosecuted.
- Attention shifts to spam containment
Filters for blocking junk e-mail from inboxes have improved to the point that doing much more will needlessly kill legitimate e-mail. So e-mail gatekeepers are getting more aggressive at keeping spam from leaving their systems in the first place. EarthLink, for instance, is phasing in a requirement that customers' mail programs submit passwords before it will send out their e-mail.
Issue no. 337 - 13 April 2005
- UK - Scottish car dealer gets spam warning from ASA
A car dealer who sent unsolicited marketing e-mail and offered an unsubscribe facility either by calling a premium-rate phone number or by clicking a link in the e-mail that did not work, has lost its case before the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
- US - Man gets nine years for spamming
A man has been sentenced to nine years in jail by a Virginia judge for sending millions of junk emails, or 'spamming'. Jeremy Jaynes, 30, is the first person in the US to get a prison term in a spam case. He is said to have been the world's eighth most prolific spammer. By selling sham products and services advertised in his messages, he earned up to $750,000 (£398,000) per month. Jaynes has appealed, and the court has put off the start of his prison term because the new law raises questions.
Issue no. 336 - 3 April 2005
- US - Anti-spam laws bite spammer hard
The net's self-declared spam king is seeking bankruptcy protection. Scott Richter, the man behind OptInRealBig.com and billions of junk mail messages, said lawsuits had forced the company into Chapter 11. OptInRealBig was fighting several legal battles, most notably against Microsoft, which is pushing for millions of dollars in damages. The company said filing for Chapter 11 would help it try to resolve its legal problems but still keep trading.
Issue no. 333 - 2 March 2005
- AU - Australia and China Sign Historic Agreement to Help Limit Spam
Representatives from the Australian Internet Industry Association (IIA) and the Internet Society of China (ISC) have signed an agreement to help manage spam. The signing ceremony formalises the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)between the associations to lessen spam traffic over the Internet. Giving immediate effect to the MoU, the IIA and ISC will hold a roundtable on March 1 to share technical and policy measures to limit the amount of spam originating from or passing through the two countries.
- EU and Asia unite against spam
A joint drive to combat spam e-mail from Europe and Asia was agreed by Government participants attending an Asia-Europe (ASEM) conference on eCommerce, held in London on 21-22 February. In a joint statement on international anti-spam cooperation, ASEM's 25 European and 13 Asian member countries agree to take action to fight spam nationally and to promote anti-spam efforts in international organisations and by industry. ASEM members include China and South Korea, which are reportedly major sources of spam.
- IL - Microsoft strikes back at Israel's number 1 spammer
Microsoft Israel filed a lawsuit against a spammer, for the damage it claims the massive volume of e-mails he sent caused. The 30-year-old entrepreneur who is responsible for sending more than 50 percent of the unsolicited advertising e-mail messages in Israel (or 'junk mail' as its detractors call it) seemed eager for a fight.
- Spamming tool goes on the run
Months of pressure from anti-spam campaigners have paid off. Send-Safe.com, a service that helped spammers to send junk emails over the Internet was on the run after US telecoms giant MCI bowed to mounting pressure and stopped hosting it late.
- UK - International internet spring clean
The Office of Fair Trading has kicked off this year's annual 48-hour global assault on scammers infesting the internet. With the UK this year holding the presidency of the International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network (ICPEN), the OFT organised the annual sweep of rogue traders on the internet. This year's annual spring clean targeted scammers as per usual but predominantly focused on how frauds are spread by spam. see Press Release.
- US - Woman's Spam Conviction Thrown Out
A Virginia state judge dismissed a North Carolina woman's conviction on felony spamming charges, saying there was insufficient evidence that she flooded tens of thousands of America Online e-mail accounts with unsolicited bulk advertisements. But the judge upheld the conviction of the woman's brother, who had been found guilty of the same crime. They were found guilty in November of three felony charges each for using false Internet addresses to send mass e-mail advertisements through an AOL server in Loudoun. Prosecutors said their felony convictions for spamming were the nation's first. The jury had recommended that Jaynes spend nine years in prison and that DeGroot pay $7,500 in fines for violating the anti-spam law.
Issue no. 332 - 22 February 2005
- AU - Australia in new spam plan
The Australian Communication Authority (ACA) has endorsed the London Action Plan which encourages government and private sector agencies in 21 countries to tighten co-operation to defeat spammers.
Issue no. 331 - 13 February 2005
- European countries launch joint drive to combat "spam"
'Anti-spam' enforcement authorities in 13 European countries have agreed to share information and pursue complaints across borders in a pan-European drive to combat "spam" electronic mail. They will cooperate in investigating complaints about cross-border spam from anywhere within the EU, so as to make it easier to identify and prosecute spammers anywhere in Europe. The voluntary agreement, which establishes a common procedure for handling cross-border complaints on spam, has been drawn up by the contact network of spam enforcement authorities (CNSA). The CNSA facilitates the sharing of information and best practices in enforcing anti-spam laws between the national authorities of EU Member States and of the EEA.
Issue no. 330 - 30 January 2005
- DE - Anti-Spam-Paragraph soll ins Teledienstegesetz
Bußgelder bis zu einer Höhe von 50.000 Euro sieht eine geplante Ergänzung zum Teledienstegesetz (Gesetz über die Nutzung von Telediensten, TDG) vor. Im einem neuen Paragraph 7 Absatz 3 des TDG wird dazu das Verheimlichen oder Verschleiern von Absenderadresse und kommerzieller Natur einer E-Mail im Header als Ordnungswidrigkeit eingestuft. Der saubere Header soll Filtermaßnahmen für die Nutzer erleichtern.
Issue no. 329 - 23 January 2005
- US - Deal halts an Internet nuisance
Under an agreement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, a man known as the 'Spam King' will stop infecting computers with advertising programs until a federal lawsuit against him is resolved.
Issue no. 328 - 4 January 2005
- NL - First fines for Dutch spammers
For the first time since the spam-ban went into force in the Netherlands, the Dutch regulatory authority OPTA has fined Dutch spammers. One spammer now faces a fine of 42.500 euro. OPTA has also fined an SMS-spammer with 20.000 euro in total, for sending unsolicited SMS's costing the recipient 1,10 euro per message, without providing any unsubscribe options. Currently, in the Netherlands only natural persons are protected against unsolicited commercial, idealistic or charitable e-mail messages. The minister of Economical Affairs has promised additional legislation to protect all recipients against spam. Companies that wish to receive unsolicited mail will have to create a special new e-mail address and make it publicly available.
- U.S. leads the dirty dozen spammers
The United States is in a league of its own when it comes to sending junk mail to e-mail users. Researchers at security software company Sophos found that 42 percent of all spam sent this year came from the United States, based on a scan by its researchers of a global network of honey pots--computers designed to attract spam e-mails and viruses.
Issue no. 327 - 16 December 2004
- UK law failing to nail spammers
On the first anniversary of the introduction of Britain's Privacy and Electronic Communication regulations, it emerges that not a single offender has yet been brought to book for sending unsolicited junk mail. The UK government's anti-spam legislation has yet to make an impact, 12 months after its introduction. Not a single prosecution has been brought under the Privacy and Electronic Communication regulations and none is imminent, according to the Office of the Information Commissioner.
Issue no. 326 - 5 December 2004
- Europe - Freeze on anti-spam campaign
A campaign by Lycos Europe to target spam-related websites appears to have been put on hold. Earlier this week the company released a screensaver that bombarded the sites with data to try to bump up the running costs of the websites. But the site hosting the screensaver now displays a pink graphic and the words 'Stay tuned'. No one at Lycos was available for comment on latest developments in its controversial anti-spam campaign. Lycos Europe's 'Make love not spam' campaign was intended as a way for users to fight back against the mountain of junk mail flooding inboxes. People were encouraged to download the screensaver which, when their PC was idle, would then send lots of data to sites that peddle the goods and services mentioned in spam messages.
- KR - Spam Becomes Gadfly for Mobile Phone Subscribers
Unwanted spam mail and calls have become a major irritant for mobile phone subscribers these days, with unsolicited messages or calls from numbers with the dialing prefixes of 060 or 030 exploding. The bulk messages cost cell phone users precious time and effort and most typically carry sexual content, fanning concerns about the influence on youth.
- US - Microsoft sues purveyors of lewd spam
Microsoft has filed seven lawsuits yesterday against purveyors of sexually explicit commercial e-mail, alleging that they violated federal restrictions on pornographic spam. The suits are believed to be the first under anti-spam rules established earlier this year to limit the exposure of children and others to unwanted sexual images and messages in their e-mail inboxes.
Issue no. 325 - 28 November 2004
- Bill Gates receives 4 million spam messages in his email every day
The Microsoft chairman is the world's most spammed person: about 4 million messages arrive in his mailbox on daily basis. Steve Ballmer made the startling claim at the start of a two-day Microsoft-sponsored Asia Leadership Forum in Singapore.
- ITU - Global Survey on Mobile Spam
Spam on mobile phones is a rising phenomenon worldwide. In order to better understand this problem, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, and BMD Wireless invite you to take part in a global survey on mobile spam. There are two different surveys for different respondents: Industry players (operators, service providers); Consumers. The survey is anonymous and no personal information is required or used for any other purpose than the study.
- ITU - Virtual Conference on Countering Spam
On Friday 19 November 2004, ITU held a virtual conference on the status of regulatory efforts to counter spam. The virtual conference was moderated by John Haydon, Executive Manager, Australia Communications Authority. The conference united regulators responsible for countering Spam from Australia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, China, India and the International Telecommunications Users Group.
Issue no. 324 - 21 November 2004
- NL - Two watchdogs join forces to fight spam
(Digital Media Europe)
The Dutch data protection agency, CBP, and the country's telecoms regulator, OPTA, signed a joint agreement on 19 October to begin sharing information and co-operate in other ways in fighting spam in the Netherlands. The agreement conforms to the wishes of the Dutch lower house and ministry of economic affairs, who have been pushing for these two agencies to work together.
- Should Microsoft own antispam?
by Declan McCullagh. Internet companies are racing to roll out better methods to block junk e-mail, but have not resolved long-standing differences over how much influence Microsoft will have over the final technology. Microsoft's effort to convince the Internet Engineering Task Force to adopt its patented technology for e-mail authentication failed in September amid concerns it would cede too much control over the future of worldwide correspondence to one company. Since then, no progress has been made toward a resolution, engineers and lawyers said at a summit convened by the Federal Trade Commission and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Issue no. 322 - 17 October 2004
- Britain, U.S. talk up spam fight
Representatives from worldwide governments, including the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, are meeting in London to discuss how a united front can help to crack down on the problem of unsolicited bulk e-mail. The initiative represents the latest in a string of events regarding spam, which to date have yielded little result and little agreement on the best approach. John Vickers, chairman of the Office of Fair Trading that is hosting the event, urged the industry, the media and average e-mail users to hold off on cynicism about this most recent initiative until its effect has been witnessed.
- NL - Stichting Spamvrij (spamfree.nl foundation) Closing
'Stichting Spamvrij.nl (Spamfree.nl foundation), the authority on spam in The Netherlands, has decided to stop. Spamfree.nl gained international attention for their fight against the CyberAngels spammers. More information can be found on their website regarding the shut-down.
- UK - OFT announces international spam plan
Government agencies and private sector representatives meeting in London have agreed an international action plan on enforcement action to tackle unsolicited commercial e-mail. The UK?s Office of Fair Trading (OFT), together with the US Federal Trade Commission, brought together consumer protection, data protection and telecommunications agencies from 15 countries around the world in a conference to promote cross-border cooperation on spam and spam-related problems, such as on-line fraud and computer viruses. Conference members agreed on an Action Plan. Representatives from the private sector, including financial institutions, ISPs, telcos and consumer organisations also took part in the conference.
Issue no. 321 - 10 October 2004
- EU - Public consultation on spam
DG Information Society and the Dutch presidency have launched a public consultation, in the form of a questionnaire, to assess progress on combating 'spam' following the Communication on this issue of January 2004 that identified relevant action for all interested parties. The Commission intends to assess the effectiveness of the actions taken to date and to determine by end 2004 if additional or corrective action is needed. The Commission services also plan to hold an open workshop on this subject, provisionally scheduled for 15 November 2004, to discuss the contributions received and the possible way forward. Interested parties are invited to submit their replies by 20 October.
- FR - Projet d'étude sur le courrier électronique et le « spam »
Dans le cadre du groupe de contact des acteurs de la lutte contre le "spam" mis en place par le gouvernement, la Direction du développement des médias, service du Premier ministre, lance un appel à propositions pour la réalisation d'une étude sur le courrier électronique et le "spam". Cette étude vise à mieux comprendre le « spam », phénomène qui affecte le fonctionnement du courrier électronique par l¹expédition de messages que leurs destinataires n¹ont généralement pas sollicités et qu¹ils ne souhaitent plus recevoir. Cahier des charges. Les propositions doivent être envoyées à la DDM avant le 20 octobre 2004.
- Net giants adopt anti-spam system
From October, AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail, Earthlink and Comcast want those that send lots of messages to their users to comply with new mail standards. These technical specifications will help reveal whether a message came from the net address it claims to. This will help identify hi-tech con artists posing as banks and net domains known to pump out junk mail messages. The five big firms want every organisation that sends out lots of e-mail, including spammers, to comply with technical standards known as the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and Sender-ID.
- OECD Launches Anti-Spam Toolkit and Invites Public Contributions
The OECD has launched an Anti-Spam Toolkit as the first step in a broader initiative to help policy makers, regulators and industry restore trust in the Internet and e-mail. The aims and components of the Toolkit were outlined at the second OECD Workshop on Spam in Busan, Korea, on 8-9 September 2004. The OECD Spam Task Force, which includes participants from all 30 OECD countries, the European Commission, the Business and Advisory Committee to the OECD and civil society, will lead the development of the toolkit. We welcome contributions from all stakeholders in business and industry, policy makers, governments and civil society, including non-member countries. Public contributions to the OECD anti-spam Toolkit may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. See OECD work on spam.
- Spam - Catastrophic loss for unencumbered standards
MARID, the most promising of current attempts to create an e-mail authentication standard for combating spam, is dead. Citing irreconcilable differences among its participants, the Internet Engineering Task Force's (IETF) MTA Authorization Records in DNS working group, otherwise known as MARID, has been shut down. The group was exploring options for establishing an Internet standard for how e-mail senders can be authenticated by the systems through which their e-mail passes. Sender authentication, because of the way it can improve the reliability of filtering mechanisms while also making it easier to track down hackers and spammers, is widely acknowledged as the first of many technical steps that must be taken in order to defeat unwanted e-mail, including spam, e-mail borne virii, and phishing attempts. MARID's work had been hampered by technical disagreements among, and the competing interests of, the most influential members of the Internet's e-mail ecosystem. There were also concerns regarding Microsoft's application for a patent that covered the techniques being considered by the group.
- URL-Based E-Mail Blocking On The Rise
Many ISPs delete e-mails containing URLs on their blacklists without bothering to notify the sender, according to a recent e-mail deliverability study undertaken and released by Pivotal Veracity. The biggest finding: A number of the largest ISPs, including AOL, Optimum Online, Hotmail and MSN, deleted outright messages that included blacklisted URLs. Numerous other ISPs routed them to bulk e-mail folders, an only slightly better fate. Companies doing this include AT&T, Comcast, Cox, Earthlink and Yahoo. The short list of ISPs that universally allowed these messages through to the inbox includes Compuserve, Excite, Road Runner and Verizon.
- US - Microsoft sues Web hoster over spam
Microsoft has filed nine new lawsuits against those it says are responsible for spam, including a Web-hosting company that caters to people who send unsolicited e-mail. With the latest batch of lawsuits, Microsoft is involved in more than 100 legal cases against spammers. Those cases include more than 70 lawsuits filed in the United States. The lawsuit was filed in Washington state's King County Superior Court against Web-hosting company National Online Sales and its owner, Levon Gillespie, for offering services advertised as 'bulletproof' for those seeking to send marketing e-mail. The Web-hosting company, which offers space on computers for serving Web pages and sending e-mail, based its operations in China so the sites would not be shut down.
- US - Spam Continues to Plague Industry and Users
As of June 2004, approximately 60% of all email was spam. Measures such as the federal CAN-SPAM Act, which took effect in January 2004, have had limited impact. Certainly, nothing has yet turned the tide. If anything, spam appears to have become more invasive: spammers distribute viruses, spyware, and surreptitious spamware. 'Phishing' capitalizes on spam to perpetrate fraud against online consumers. In July 2004, CDT convened a meeting of industry, consumer advocates, human rights campaigners, and technologists to discuss the status of anti-spam efforts. See report.
Issue no. 320 - 25 September 2004
- DE - Anti-Spam-Kongress: Minimal invasiv gegen Spam
Minimal invasive Maßnahmen gegen Spam schlug die Anti-Spam Task Force (ASTF) des Provider-Verbandes eco beim 2. deutschen Anti-Spam-Kongress vor. Nach einem Jahr Vorarbeiten präsentierte die ASTF zwei Hauptmaßnahmen für den Kampf gegen Spam: ein Trusted Network für Provider, das vor allem für eine Vereinheitlichung der Politik gegen Missbrauch sorgen soll, und ein Projekt zu einer Positivliste, das den Direktmarketing-Unternehmen das Leben leichter machen soll. Whitepaper ASTF.
- New blow for Sender ID as AOL joins disbelievers
AOL is the latest and largest company to back away from Microsoft's Sender ID software, designed to cut spam by identifying the source of the email. The move is particularly embarrassing for Redmond as AOL was the first in a list of companies it said had voiced support for the technology. AOL will continue to use the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) with which Microsoft's technology is combined in Sender ID.
Issue no. 319 - 14 September 2004
- Debian rejects Sender ID
The Debian Linux group will not deploy the Sender ID anti-spam standard, because Microsoft's licence terms do not fit within its free-software guidelines. This announcement comes only a few days after the Apache Foundation's refusal to implement Sender ID.
- Microsofts Anti-Spam-Technik Sender ID weiter unter Beschuss
Weitere Stimmen aus der Open-Source-Gemeinde haben sich gegen die Anerkennung des von Microsoft vorgeschlagenen Anti-Spam-Standard Sender ID ausgesprochen. Nach der Apache-Foundation hat Martin Michlmayr für Debian dem von Microsoft mit Patent- und Lizenzansprüchen versehenen Sender ID eine Absage erteilt.
- Spammers exploit anti-spam trap
Many junk mail messages try to hide their origins by using a fake address. In a bid to tackle this, a technology called the Sender Policy Framework (SPF) has been developed. This is an authentication scheme that tries to ensure that e-mail messages come from the place that they say they do. But a survey carried out by mail filtering firm CipherTrust has shown that spammers are the most enthusiastic users of the SPF technology. It found that 34% more spam is passing SPF checks than legitimate e-mail. However, the system is proving good at stopping spoofing and phishing attacks.
- Spammers given boot by net host
Campaigners against spam on the internet have won a major battle against the world's second largest internet service provider. US firm Savvis was allegedly earning up to $2 million a month from 148 of the world's worst spammers, a former employee had claimed. Following talks with anti-spam groups, Savvis has now promised to get rid of the spammers using its network. Until this year Savvis was regarded as a model service provider with a strong policy against spam. But in January it bought C&W US, the American arm of the British telecommunications company Cable & Wireless, for $155 million (£87.4 million). Along with C&W US's 3,000 business customers, Savvis inherited 95 major spammers who make their money by sending out millions of unsolicited e-mails a day with the standard mix of Viagra and porn offers. Since then they have added another 53 spammers, bringing the total number of spammers on their network to 148.
Issue no. 318 - 5 September 2004
- OECD - Anti-Spam Legislation: Report on non-OECD Countries
This report was originally prepared for the OECD Workshop on Spam held in Brussels (February 2 -3, 2004). Countries covered by the report are: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, Russia, Slovenia and Ukraine. Authors present provide a concise background on spam and the situation in the above countries.
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