Spammers make a combined $200 million a year while costing society $20 billion

By on August 28, 2012 at 7:55 AM.

Spammers make a combined $200 million a year while costing society $20 billion

Spam Revenue

Spam emails are something Internet users just have to deal with. No matter how much companies spend to prevent spam, it doesn’t seem to make it any less prevalent. According to a report from Justin Rao of Microsoft (MSFT) and David Reiley of Google (GOOG), spammers and spam-advertised merchants cost society a whopping $20 billion while gaining a mere $200 million in combined revenue per year. The “externality ratio” of external costs to internal benefits for spam is around 100:1. That disparity could be even more substantial, however: others have estimated that spam cost society upwards of $50 billion. More →

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40% of accounts on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks are spam

By on May 29, 2012 at 3:00 PM.

40% of accounts on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks are spam

Social Media Spam

Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are become focal points of our digital lives, and just as they did with email and other popular digital technologies, spammers are looking to capitalize. According to Mark Risher, chief executive officer of anti-spam software company Impermium, spammers are responsible for creating as much as 40% of the accounts on popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. “Social spam can be a lot more effective than e-mail spam,” Risher told Bloomberg Businessweek in a recent interview. “The bad guys are taking to this with great abandon.” Roughly 8% of messages sent on social networks are spam according to Risher, and that figure has doubled in the past six months, the spam expert estimates. Businessweek notes that companies like Twitter and Facebook are beginning to increase their efforts to quell spam, having recently sued several perpetrators and increased their respective investments in anti-spam personnel and resources. More →

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More than half of Internet traffic is ‘non-human’

By on March 16, 2012 at 3:05 PM.

More than half of Internet traffic is ‘non-human’

A new study suggests that more than half of all Internet traffic is generated by non-human sources such as hacking software, scrapers and automated spam mechanisms. The majority of this non-human traffic, according to cloud service provider Incapsula, is potentially malicious. The study is based on data collected from 1,000 websites that utilize Incapsula’s services, and it determined that just 49% of Web traffic is human browsing. 20% is benign non-human search engine traffic, but 31% of all Internet traffic is tied to malicious activities. 19% is from ” ‘spies’ collecting competitive intelligence,” 5% is from automated hacking tools seeking out vulnerabilities, 5% is from scrapers and 2% is from content spammers. “Few people realize how much of their traffic is non-human, and that much of it is potentially harmful,” Incapsula co-founder Marc Gaffan told ZDNet. Incapsula, coincidentally, offers services aimed at securing small and medium businesses. More →

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Gmail users claim Google is sending unauthorized spam emails from their accounts [updated]

By on March 6, 2012 at 4:40 PM.

Gmail users claim Google is sending unauthorized spam emails from their accounts [updated]

In what can only be described as yet another set back for Google’s privacy battle, Gmail users are accusing the search giant of accessing their contact lists and sending spam emails to contacts with non-Gmail email addresses. “STOP IT!,” an irate user wrote on Google’s support forums. “At no point did I say it was ok for Google to send email messages to my non-GMail contacts recommending they sign up for GMail.” The user, posting to Google’s forum under the name MrCheck, claims a contact of his responded back to the unauthorized email and informed him that he doesn’t use Gmail or Google Talk. Further investigating supposedly found that Google sent his contacts with non-Gmail email addresses a spam email that highlighted the benefits of Gmail and Google Talk, inviting them to join the services. There was no evidence of the sent email in MrCheck’s sent box according to his post. Numerous others have shared similar stories as well, claiming that Google has spammed their contacts. The accusations come at a time where the Mountain View-based company is in the midst of dealing with a number of privacy hiccups that have damaged its public image. Read on for Google’s response More →

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Nokia fined in Australia for spamming customers with text messages

By on January 24, 2012 at 10:15 PM.

Nokia fined in Australia for spamming customers with text messages

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has fined Nokia for sending spam-filled text messages to its customers. Nokia had been sending messages with tips on how customers could take advantage of their phones’ features, Reuters said Tuesday, but the government agreed Nokia should allow its customers to opt out of receiving the messages. “Some businesses are still not getting SMS marketing right,” Australian Communications and Media Authority chairman Richard Bean told Reuters. “The same rules apply to SMS marketing as for email marketing, and the same rules apply to all businesses, big and small.” More →

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Twitter looks to squash spam and malicious links with new acquisition

By on January 24, 2012 at 6:35 PM.

Twitter looks to squash spam and malicious links with new acquisition

Twitter finally appears to be preparing a new wave of attacks on the malicious spammers that have overrun the popular social network during the past year. Web security firm Dasient on Monday announced that it has been acquired by Twitter. “Since its inception, Dasient has been focused on solving web-scale security problems involving malware and other types of online abuse,” the firm noted in a blog post. “In 2009, Dasient launched its web anti-malware platform, capable of scanning URLs and websites for the presence of harmful content. In 2010, Dasient launched the industry’s first anti-malvertising service to protect ad networks and publishers from the scourge of malicious ads. Over the last year, we have been very active in securing the ads and content of the some of the industry’s largest ad networks and web sites.” The firm is seen as playing a large role in securing new self-service advertising efforts Twitter is preparing to roll out in the near future. A secondary benefit to end users, however, is that the link-spam currently plaguing members of the social network may be quelled as part of Twitter’s efforts with Dasient technology. More →

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NumberGuru for iPhone, Android provides free unlimited reverse phone number look-ups

By on May 30, 2011 at 4:11 PM.

NumberGuru for iPhone, Android provides free unlimited reverse phone number look-ups

BeenVerified, the company behind the Antoine Dodson-endorsed Sex Offender Tracker app, is back with another offering that looks to disrupt the reverse directory space. The firm’s latest app, NumberGuru, provides users with free unlimited reverse phone number look-ups. The app is also tied to a social service where users can post comments about numbers they look up with NumberGuru, helping to identify phone spammers for future searchers. Available immediately for the iPhone, Android smartphones and on the Web, the app and service are completely free, and BeenVerified told us that the company plans to keep it that way. BeenVerified also told BGR that since the app was updated last week, NumberGuru is averaging about 10 look-ups per second, or 864,000 look-ups each day. Hit the break for links to install the free app on your iPhone or your Android smartphone. More →

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Google rolls out domain blocking in search results

By on March 10, 2011 at 11:35 PM.

Google rolls out domain blocking in search results

Google on Thursday announced the availability of a new feature that allows users to block specific domains from appearing in their search results. Google has taken several measures lately in an effort to improve the quality of its search results, which can often become devalued by “content farms” and other sites that make it their business to game Google by churning out low-quality search friendly content. Beyond changes that Google has made to its algorithms, users can now take it upon themselves to weed out the junk that Google misses. When users click on a search result and then return to Google, they will now see an option to block domain that was clicked. The result is a customized search experience that will continue to improve over time as users block more domains. Google is currently in the process of rolling out the new feature, which should be available to all users soon. More →

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InNova Patent Licensing LLC files infringement lawsuit against thirty-six companies over email spam patent

By on July 22, 2010 at 3:33 AM.

InNova Patent Licensing LLC files infringement lawsuit against thirty-six companies over email spam patent

innova-patent-llc

Texas-based InNova Patent Licensing LLC has filed a broad lawsuit against thirty-six defendants accusing them of infringement upon an email spam patent that was granted to InNova founder Robert Uomini. The patent describes a method of identifying incoming email as spam by using external context information obtained from the sender and according to Christopher Banys, lead counsel for InNova, it is “one of the building blocks for all email communications”. The thirty-six defendants are a motley crew and include technology giants like Google, Apple, Yahoo, RIM, and HP, retail giants like JCPenney Co., food manufacturers such as Frito-lay and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Inc, and finance stalwarts including JPMorgan Chase & Co and Wells Fargo & Company. Full press release is after the jump. More →

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