All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘Spam’

Blekko CEO Rich Skrenta Discusses Search Quality, Filtering, Zorro Update

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 …

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Could Botnets Inflate Search Engines’ Query Counts?

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 …

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Exclusive Interview with Man Who Is Suing Facebook over Customer Support

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.

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Royal Wedding Brings Out the Cyber Criminals

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 …

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TripAdvisor’s Email List Breached

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 …

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Blekko Flags More Than A Million Domains As Spam

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 …

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FTC Cracks Down On Mortgage Spammer

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 “” The FTC is asking the court to freeze the defendant’s assets.

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Spammers Hijack Google Brand to Push Online Pharmacy

Google Accredited Spam

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. 

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More Link Spam Examples in Google

The New York Times published an article near and dear to my heart over the weekend about JCPenny manipulating Google results as a result of paid links. Apparently it’s news to many people that this kind of activity is taking place. But to those of us who optimize Web sites using “white hat” tactics it is certainly no surprise as we investigate why our competitors out rank us. I thought I would share some of the other common techniques that cheating sites are effectively using to game the system.

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Goodmail Comes to an End

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."

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Google, Bing, and Blekko Talk Content Farms and Search Quality

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. 

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Is Google’s Search Quality The Best It’s Ever Been?

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.

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Is Bing Growth Being Inflated By Shady Sites?

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 Google was number five. 

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Blekko CEO On The “Useless Garbage” Of The Web

Late last week, Blekko launched the Spam Clock – the search engine’s illustration of how quickly the web is being flooded with spam. More specifically, it counts up the number of spam pages added to the web since January 1. What is not so clear by looking at it, however, is just what Blekko is considering spam (though the page does remind us that spammers are out to: harm users, steal publisher traffic, and defraud advertisers. 

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Blekko Launches Spam Clock

Blekko, the recently launched search engine that relies on the community to help maintain relevancy, has launched "The Spam Clock". This is essentially a counter that displays the number of spam pages created since the year started. 

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Location-Based Services Too New to Know How They’ll Be Abused

Last week, Symantec’s MessageLabs Intelligence Sr. Analyst Paul Wood shared some predictions for online threats in the coming year with us. With the increasing emergence of location-based services, we wondered what kind of threats (beyond the obvious) come with this new territory. 

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Threats to Expect in Mobile, Social, Location and Email in 2011

It’s getting late in the year, and it’s about time to start looking forward to 2011. While we can speculate about a great many topics, few trends are going to be as important to anticipate as those related to security. We asked an expert in the field about some of the things he is anticipating. WebProNews interviewed Paul Wood, MessageLabs Intelligence Sr. Analyst at Symantec Hosted Services about what businesses and consumers can expect to deal with in order to stay secure over the next year. 

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Does Facebook Face A Google-Like Issue With “Like Farms” and “Like Buying”?

Facebook may be going through some of the growing pains that Google went through earlier in its life. Google has always had to deal with link farms and link buying, polluting its search results, and has gotten better and better at keeping this under control over the years.

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Facebook: Location, Auto-Suggest and Fighting Spam

Word around the Web is that Facebook will be announcing its long-awaited location feature today. While this has still not been confirmed, a mysterious account appeared on Twitter today, for @FacebookPlaces.

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Facebook “Bug” Providing Names With Email Addresses: Fixed

Update 2: The issue is reportedly resolved.

Update: Facebook is already fixing the issue. AllFacebook got a statement from the company saying: 

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Malware Reaches An All-Time High

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.

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Is Google to Blame for Its Own News Pollution?

Search Engine Land Editor-in-Chief Danny Sullivan points out how poorly Google handles those gaming Google News, using Google Trends as a starting point.

Do you find Google News to be too heavily polluted? Share your thoughts.

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Google, Apple, Yahoo, AOL, Dell, HP, RIM, McAfee, Symantec, Siemens Sued Over Spam Filtering

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.

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Symantec: Short URL Spam Reaches Historical Peak

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.

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U.S. Remains Top Spamming Country

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%).

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Symantec Reports the Most Spammed States in the U.S.

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.

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Google Wants Your Help to Reduce Webspam

If you have any suggestions for Google’s webspam team, now is the time to make them. Google’s Matt Cutts, who leads the team, has called for suggestions for webspam projects for the year in a post on his personal blog.

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Facebook Reveals Some Details About How it Handles Spam

Facebook has revealed a little bit of information about how it looks at spam. The company says it wants to be more transparent about how it handles it.

Along with this transparency is a new message explaining why content might be blocked. It looks something like this:

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FTC Cracks Down On Online Payment Scam

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.

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Google Shares Its Viewpoint on Earning Quality Links

SEO changes all the time as search engines make adjustments to their algorithms and user interfaces, users adopt new technologies, etc. Still some things never change, like Google’s view on spammy links.

Do you agree with Google’s philosophy on link-building? Share your thoughts here.

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Spammers Exploiting World Cup to Target Attacks

Symantec has released its June 2010 MessageLabs Intelligence Report, which looks at the recent increase in scams containing FIFA World Cup-related messages. The World Cup is being used to target unsuspecting users, and that is expected to increase as the event goes on.

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Demand Media Responds to Domain Audit Report Accusations

Update: Quinn Daly, senior vice president, Corporate Communications at Demand Media has gotten back to us with the following comments:

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More Spam Including Legitimate Social Media Links

Security firm Symantec tells WebProNews that nine out of ten spam emails now contain a URL link in the message, and this month, around 5% of all domains found in spam URLs belonged to genuine websites. The top four of those belong to well-known social networking, blogging, file sharing and user-generated content sites.

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Judge Orders Fraudulent ISP Shut Down

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.

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USB Worm Top Threat In Q1

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.

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Believe it or Not, Self-Promotion Can Hurt You

The interesting thing about online self-promotion is that it can be vital to your success, but can also make you look horrible, tarnish your reputation, and alienate people. There are good ways to promote yourself, and there are bad ways. Some of the bad ways are often looked upon as spam – things like blog comment spam, forum spam, or of course Twitter/Facebook spam come to mind.

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US Still Main Source Of Spam

The United States continues to be the main source of spam, relaying more than 13 percent of global spam, according to a new report from Sophos.

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Spammers Sending Malicious 3D Easter Emails

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."

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Selling Through Facebook Doesn’t Mean Spamming Your Fans

Small businesses are getting more and more opportunities to get some real use out of Facebook. For example, AT&T’s has created a way for brick and mortars to get some positive recommendations through Facebook users’ news feeds.

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Most Targeted Attacks on Senior Officials Come from China

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."

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Google Talks Spam Control for Buzz

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."

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