Spam and Phishing News Roundup
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Every time our ability to catch and filter out spammers or protect against phishing attacks improves, it seems like the attackers just regroup and find another way. There have been some victories in this digital game of whack a mole, but there has also been word of some pretty disturbing new tactics on the part of spammers and phishers. Here are several recent stories for those of you who are fighting the good fight (or just trying to keep score).
Let’s start with some good news. EarthLink’s policy of pursuing spammers in federal court under the CAN-SPAM act may be bearing fruit for the ISP and its users. The company has sued hundreds of violators of the law over the last decade, and won more than $200 million in judgments. It also won two criminal convictions against spammers who were sentenced to prison for their offences.
The latest ruling in favor of EarthLink was handed down in a federal court in Atlanta. The ISP had sued the Nevada Internet marketing company KSTM on charges of using false and misleading header information in its emails, in clear violation of the CAN-SPAM act. Earthlink also accused KSTM with breaking the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse act, the Georgia Computer Systems Protection act, and state and federal racketeering laws. KSTM had sent out millions of illegal mortgage-related email ads promoting its website.
The court ordered KSTM to pay EarthLink $11 million in damages. KSTM was further forbidden to engage in the following actions, under penalty of contempt:
• “Spoofing,” or using a fake “from” field in the email address.
• “Cloaking,” or hiding the identity of the email sender.
• Selling email addresses.
• Accessing or obtaining EarthLink accounts.
It’s a comfort to hear of EarthLink’s persistence and determination in the face of such a pandemic problem on the Internet. Unfortunately, not all of the news is good.
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