All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘Spam’
Blekko, the alternative search engine that aims to challenge Google and Bing by reducing spam and low quality content in search results via human curation, has refreshed its index and results pages in an update it refers to as “Zorro”. We picked CEO Rich Skrenta’s brain about the update, search quality, and blekko’s goals in general. “Zorro is a major …
Gabriel Weinberg, the founder of the DuckDuckGo search engine had an interesting blog post over the weekend, talking about some weird traffic the site was getting. He points to a couple SERPs generated by what he deems to be queries from botnets. In the comments, Eric Klein says one of them looks like its trying to boost ranking by “making …
In terms of the Internet, calling someone a spammer is about the lowest jab a person can give, especially if the accused denies the claims. David Fagin, an AOL News writer and musician, recently became very familiar with this type of scenario after Facebook accused him of being a spammer.
Cyber criminals are exploiting the world’s fascination with the British Royal Wedding, which is taking place on Friday. They’re using the attention the event is getting to bolster spam campaigns and push rogue antivirus software through black hat search tactics, according to security firm Symantec. “As with any major event, criminals have been quick to take advantage of the online …
TripAdvisor, one of the top travel review websites around, released a statement today that warns its members of a security breach that allowed the theft of a portion of their email list. How large of a portion they don’t say, but we do know that the email list in question if over 20 million strong. In the statement, TripAdvisor is …
Blekko has launched a new AdSpam algorithm it says is the first of its kind created to find spam rather than rank results. The algorithm is aimed at flagging pages which are spam and zapping them before they appear in search results. Blekko says its AdSpam technology has identified 1.1 million domains as spam and removed them from its search …
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said today it has asked a federal judge to shut down a company that allegedly sent people millions of spam text messages.
The text messages allegedly advertised for a deceptive mortgage modification website called “loanmod-gov.net.” The FTC is asking the court to freeze the defendant’s assets.
Symantec’s MessageLabs Intelligence recently tracked a new pharmaceutical spam campaign that promotes an online pharmacy, claiming that it is "Google-accredited".
"This is obvious brand hijacking: Google does not host or approve any pharmacy sites," a representative for the security firm tells WebProNews.
Goodmail Systems will shut down this month, according to Direct Marketing News, who reports that CEO Daniel Dreymann says the main reason is an acquisition attempt by an undisclosed Fortune 500 company was taken off the table.
"We were on track to be acquired," Dreymann told the publication. "We got a terms sheet, and they left us at the altar at the last minute."
Matt Cutts from Google, Harry Shum from Bing, and Rich Skrenta from Blekko spoke on a panel today at the Farsight Summit. Much of the conversation was around the Bing/Google results copying ordeal, but part of the conversation was about search quality in general, and the impact content farms are having on it.
In a post on the official Google Blog, Matt Cutts, head of the company’s webspam team said that Google’s search quality is the best it has ever been in terms of relevance, freshness, and comprehensiveness.
Do you agree that Google’s search quality is the best it’s ever been? Share your thoughts.
Article updated. See below. I have also posted a new piece based on new information that has come to light.
Facebook took in an estimated $1.86 billion in advertising revenue last year, according to eMarketer, and AdvertisingAge says that the top two advertisers were AT&T and Match.com. Google was number five.
Malware reached its highest levels ever in the first six months of 2010, according to a new report from McAfee.
McAfee found 6 million malicious files in the second quarter, compared to 4 million in the first quarter. Threats on portable storage devices were the most popular malware, followed by fake anti-virus software and social media specific malware. With 55,000 new pieces of malware that appear everyday, globally AutoRun malware and password-stealing Trojans round out the top two malware threats.
A few days ago, a Texas-based company called InNova Patent Licensing filed an infringement lawsuit against 36 well-known companies. The company claims to hold the patent on spam filtering, and appears to be resting on the notion that any company using spam filtering owes them.
Among the companies being sued are Google, Apple, AOL, Dell, HP, RIM, Yahoo, McAfee, Symantec, and Siemens. The list doesn’t stop at tech companies though. It also contains names like Frito Lay, Cinemark, J.C. Penney, Rent-A-Center, and Dr. Pepper.
A new report from Symantec’s MessageLabs finds that short URLs in spam have reached a "historical peak". This type of spam has increased significantly over the past year.
Spam containing shortened links hit a one day peak of 18%, or 23.4 billion spam emails, on April 30, 2010, doubling last year’s peak levels when spam with shortened links accounted for 9.3% of spam (more than 10 billion spam emails) on July 28, 2009.
The United States continues to be the top country for spam, accounting for 15.2 percent of all global spam, an increase from 13.1 percent in the first quarter of 2010, according to a new report by Sophos.
India trails the U.S., accounting for 7.7 percent of worldwide spam, followed by Brazil (5.5%), the UK (4.6%) and South Korea (4.2%).
Symantec has released its annual MessageLabs Intelligence Special Report, ranking the most spammed U.S. states and territories.
According to the report, Idaho receives the most spam (for the second year in a row), at a rate of 95.2%. The top spammed states are Idaho, Alabama, and South Carolina, with spam rates above 93%. The national average is only 89.3%. Indiana, Tennessee, Illinois, Utah, Washington, New Hampshire and North Carolina are next in line.
At the request of the Federal Trade Commission, a federal court has halted an online scam that used identity theft to place more than $10 million in bogus charges on consumers’ credit and debit cards, pending a trial.
More than a million consumers were hit with one-time charges of $10 or less, and their payments were routed through dummy corporations in the United States to bank accounts in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Update: Quinn Daly, senior vice president, Corporate Communications at Demand Media has gotten back to us with the following comments:
A U.S. district court judge today permanently shut down a rogue Internet Service Provider that recruited, hosted and actively participated in the distribution of spam spyware, child pornography, and other malicious and illegal content, at the request of the Federal Trade Commission.
The ISP’s computer servers and other assets have been seized and will be sold by a court-appointed receiver, and the operation has been ordered to turn over $1.08 million in illegal profits to the FTC.
In the first quarter of 2010, a USB worm took the top spot for malware globally, according to a new report by McAfee.
Threats on portable storage devices took the lead for the most popular malware. AutoRun related infections held the No.1 and No. 3 spots due to the widespread adoption of removable devices, mainly USB drives. A variety of password-stealing Trojans rounded out the top five. Those include generic downloaders, unwanted programs and gaming software that collects statistics anonymously. The popularity of these threats were consistent worldwide.
Easter is coming up, and of course that means spammers are taking advantage. They do this with most holidays. And like they do with other holidays, they are using the holiday to disguise malicious emails. Symantec shared some examples with us.
"MessageLabs Intelligence has intercepted Easter ‘e-card’ spam emails offering a ‘2010 Easter 3D e-Card,’" a representative for Symantec tells WebProNews. "Spam authors are attempting to use the recent surge of interest in 3D media to increase the likelihood of people falling for their scam."
Symantec has a released a new report looking at the nature of industrial espionage and targeted attacks, a big issue right now, considering the whole Google/China situation. A representative for the firm tells WebPronews, "Further analysis of targeted attacks shows that the top five targeted roles are senior officials (VPs, Directors) and the individuals that receive the most targeted malware are responsible for foreign trade and defense policy, especially in relation to Asian countries."
Update: WebProNews contacted Google to find out how they handle Google Buzz spam. The company tells us:
"We have several spam and abuse checks in place for Google Buzz content. On the abuse side, we recompress images that are uploaded, and links are scanned by the same technology that helps protect Google web search and browsers that implement our Safe Browsing data. Users can also click "Report abuse" in the drop-down menu for each Buzz message. We will suspend accounts for abuse that violates our terms of service."
This is the time of year when morality becomes mainstream; just try going a day without hearing references to "naughty," "nice," a scrooge, or a grinch. It seems appropriate, then, that at SES Chicago, there was a session called "Black Hat, White Hat: Does It Really Matter Anymore?"
Symantec has released two new reports for the month of November – the State of Spam, and the State of Phishing (both PDFs). The reports highlight a dramatic increase in spam that contains malware. On top of that, junk and malicious email now accounts for close to 9 out of 10 email messages.
Spam is rising as we get closer to the Christmas holiday season according to Symantec, although they do say that phishing is down. The company has shared some findings from its September State of Phishing report.
According to the report, there was a 45% reduction in phishing attacks between July and August. Symantec says this will likely be a short-term lull, however, reflecting the end of a particular toolkit attack on social networking sites.
Google’s Matt Cutts answered a user question about how the company handles spam complaints in the most recent video upload to the Google Webmaster Central YouTube Channel. More specifically, the question was:
Is there a minimum number of spam complaints about a domain and/or SERP before Google reviews the complaint? Presumably you get thousands of spam complaints daily, are these sorted into any order to be reviewed? The most popular first?
Spam volumes have risen 141 percent since March, continuing the longest streak of increasing spam volumes ever, according to McAfee’s Q2 Threats Report, released today.
More that 14 million computers have been hit by botnets, a 16 percent increase over last quarter.
McAfee researchers also found that, over the course of 30 days, Auto-Run malware had infected more than 27 million files. Auto-Run malware, which exploits Windows’ Auto-Run capabilities, does not require any user clicks to activate, and is most often spread through portable USB and storage devices.
I long ago gave up trying to get spammers to "cease and desist" their scraping of Marketing Pilgrim’s content–I never was much good at playing whack-a-mole.
Well, it appears that The Associated Press loves carnival games as the NYT reports the news organization is determined to put an end to the scraping of its content.
In the past Gmail has hidden images in email messages by default. If a user wanted to see images contained within a message, they had to click "display images below" to get them to show up.
This policy is still in place for messages from unknown recipients, but now images will automatically be displayed if they come from a contact. More specifically, if you have emailed a person at least twice, you will see images from them without having to click the "display images below" link.
Google is warning users about an increase of spammers promoting Google scams.
"We’re seeing disturbing cases in which websites, emails and advertisements claim that you can make large amounts of money from home with very little effort using Google products and services," the company said on the official Google Blog.
Whether you think about it or not, the issue of safety probably affects just about every decision-making process. After all, even if you favor a grocery store based on its low prices and convenient location, you must also on some level recognize that muggings don’t occur there every day. And Microsoft wants to make sure you feel safe using Bing, too.
Two Missouri men and their two accomplices have been indicted by a federal grand jury for a nationwide email spamming scheme that targeted more than 2,000 colleges and universities.
Through the spamming scheme more than $4 million worth of products were sold to students, according to Matt J. Whitworth, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri.
Can spam cause damage to the environment and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions?
That’s what a study from McAfee and climate-change researchers ICF have concluded. The study "Carbon Footprint of Spam" released today, found the global annual energy used to transmit, process and filter spam totals 33 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), or 33 terawatt hours (TWh).
That’s equal to the electricity used in 2.4 million homes, with the same green-house gas as 3.1 million passenger cars using 2 billion gallons of gas.
A Connecticut man has been sentenced to four years in prison for his role in a phishing scam that tricked AOL users into turning over personal information.
Charlie Blount, JR., 25 of West Haven, along with Michael Dolan and others conspired to "harvest" email addresses of AOL subscribers from the Internet, according to court documents.
Well, socially speaking, there being more interest in First Lady-Elect Michelle Obama than in Britney Spears or Paris Hilton is a positive change, one that bodes well for society. On the flip side, as Inauguration Day nears, spammers are rewarding that renewed interest in affairs of state with an onslaught of junk mail.
Of the 1.4 million spam emails analyzed by SPAMfighter in December, Michelle Obama was the subject nearly five times as much as Britney Spears was, nearly six times as often as Paris Hilton, and ten times as much as Angelina Jolie.
Spammers are now taking their cue from search engines and advertisers by making their emails more personalized in attempts to steal users information, according to a new security report from Cisco.
The report found there was a 90 percent growth in threats coming from legitimate domains, nearly double what was seen in 2007. While targeted spear-phishing represents about 1 percent of all phishing attacks it is on track to become more widespread as savvy criminals personalize spam and make messages appear more credible.
A study on spam from Berkeley and UCSD came back with some pretty intriguing results. The most publicized one was that 1 in 12.5 million conversions is all it may take for spam to be profitable. Other findings show Hotmail may have the best spam filters, and that it’s likely that spambot operations are not third-party services.
Well now that the Yahoo deal fell through, some are looking for their own opportunities to team up with Google. One such person is a guy named Rob.
Matt Cutts shared a humorous experience on his blog about a guy who wants to "purchase advertising space". Matt shares the initial email:
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has announced it will delay shutting down EstDomains, an Internet registrar accused of having ties with spammers.
ICANN sent a letter to EstDomains saying it would pull the company’s accreditation on November 12 and transfer the 281,000 domains under its management to another registrar.
The Federal Trade Commission has shut down one of the largest global spam operations that promoted prescription drugs and bogus male-enhancement products
The FTC says it has received more than three million complaints about spam messages connected to the operation known as HerbalKing. It estimates that it may be responsible for sending billions of illegal spam messages.