Mobile phone spam is rising sharply in the U.S. as unsolicited bulk message abuse migrates from email to text messages, raising concerns among federal and state officials that consumers are putting their personal information at risk. “We are seeing complaints on the rise,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine in an exclusive interview with the Dayton Daily News. “As people move more and more to texting, the scammers follow." American cellphone owners last year received about 4.5 billion spam text messages, more than double the 2.2 billion received in 2009, according to Ferris Research, a market research firm that tracks mobile spam. A recent Pew Research Center report found that 69 percent of cellphone owners who use text messaging said they get unwanted spam text messages. Of those texters, 25 percent face problems with unwanted spam texts at least weekly. The Federal Communications Commission reported that unwanted telemarketing calls and texts were among the top three consumer complaints in 2011. DeWine said his office has received about two dozen complaints this year about text message spam, which is “just a fraction of what actually occurs.”
IDG News Service - Swiss scientists have developed an algorithm that can be used to locate spammers as well as the source of a computer virus or malware. The algorithm finds the source by only checking a small percentage of the connections in a network, said Pedro Pinto, postdoctoral researcher at the Audiovisual Communications Laboratory of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) on Monday. If you would like to find the source of a virus, malware or spam-attack it is impossible to track the status of all nodes on the Internet, Pinto said in a telephone interview. "That would mean you would need about 1 billion sensors. And you don't want to monitor the entire Internet," he added. Instead he and his colleagues devised an algorithm that shows that it is possible to estimate the location of the source from measurements collected by sparsely placed observers or sensors. By using the algorithm the specific computer inA the network from which the spam mail is being sent can be found so that the network provider can shut it down for instance, said Pinto. Using the same method, the first computer where a virus was injected could be pinpointed, he added. The location of the source is basically accomplished by using the network structure, looking at who is connected to whom, as well as determining the time of arrival of the virus to the sensors, Pinto said.
The high penetration rate of social networks among Asian consumers and the general lack of advanced spam filters for these Web sites will only exacerbate the problem of spam in the region, industry watchers say. Pranabesh Nath, industry manager for ICT practice in Asia-Pacific at Frost & Sullivan, likened the current situation with spam on social networks to the earlier experience with e-mails, when spamming got worse as more people owned e-mail accounts. Similarly, as the user base for social networks continues to grow, spam will grow in tandem too, he noted. This is especially so in Asia, which contributes millions of users in social networking sites, noted Eugene Teo, Singapore manager for security response at Symantec. He said such a large user base makes the region the perfect fertile ground for spam via social engineering tactics. "It's easier to fool someone when they think they're surrounded by friends", Teo said, adding that cybercriminals will increasingly target users in region to distribute spam by exploiting the power and trust of social network connections. Dan Olds, analyst at The Gabriel Consulting Group, added that while e-mail spam continues to be highly prevalent in Asia, this has become less attractive for spammers due to better spam filtering technology used by consumers and Internet service providers. As such, spammers are turning their attention to the region's social media space, Olds said. After all, while popular social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have all been trying to fight spam, there remains a general lack of control over user sign ups which allows fake accounts to be easily created and used to circulate spam. Spammers will go where their targets congregate and look for the lowest hanging fruit, and not only do social networks have a vast number of users, spam filtering technology used by these sites is nowhere as advanced as that of e-mail, he explained.
8:25 a.m. Received an urgent e-mail from Al Gore with an unsettling subject line: “Disaster.” Turns out the former vice president wanted to tell me that the Republican Party had been “hijacked by an extremist fringe,” and I should send “$3 or more” a.s.a.p. Now, I’m a fan of the former vice president and, considering some of the blather I’ve heard recently from the Tea Party, it didn’t surprise me to learn that the G.O.P. had been hijacked. But I’m beginning to worry that it’s the Democrats who are now controlled by an extremist fringe — of e-mail writers. These are some of the genuine campaign e-mails I received over just two days recently: 9:27 a.m. Under the subject line “This will be blunt,” Joe Biden writes, “This isn’t hyperbole or exaggeration.” There’s a problem with “the spending gap,” and I should “donate $75 today.” The following morning I woke to discover that Democrats had ratcheted up the e-mails to include exclamation points! 8:26 a.m. A message from political strategist Donna Brazile carries the subject line “badmouthing!” Seems “these Tea Party Republicans” would “rather badmouth the President than work with him...” Her suggestion: “contribute $3 or whatever you can.” 8:42 a.m. The subject line was so odd — the single word “So” — that I almost deleted it. It was from “Barack,” asking for $3 because “tonight is one of the most critical fund-raising deadlines we’ll face.” I’ve come to realize that all of these fund-raising pleas are “critical” — even the missives I continue to receive about paying off Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign debt. 9:09 a.m. “We’re in this together,” writes Michelle (Obama).
Who can resist an academic paper with a title like ”The Economics of Spam”? Writing in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, Justin M. Rao and David H. Reiley take an in-depth look at the flood of spam e-mails in our inbox. Some findings: — “Every day about 100 billion emails are sent to email addresses around the world. In 2010 an estimated 88 percent of this worldwide traffic was spam.” — Companies spent about $6.5 billion in 2010 on anti-spam technology. Meanwhile, the spam that gets past the filter imposes additional costs on e-mail users. The authors assume that the average person’s time is worth $25 per hour and that it takes, on average, five seconds to delete spam. If that’s true, spam costs users about $14 billion. (Over at Digitopoly, Joshua Gans thinks this sounds high — presumably people can delete spam faster than that.) — All that anti-spam technology appears to be well worth it: “If firms were not investing in anti-spam technology, end users would be receiving 100 times as much spam, which given our estimate of the current time loss due spam, would put the total economic loss at over $1 trillion.” — On the flip side, the authors note that the spamming industry probably rakes in about $300 million per year. Some people are clicking on those ads for cheap pharmaceuticals. In sum, spam is a net loss for the world. Who would’ve thought?
London, Aug. 9 (ANI): Despite only 5.3 percent of the world's Internet users reportedly living in India, the country has emerged as the top spam sending nation across the globe, a report has revealed. Asia increased its output and is now responsible for relaying 49.7 percent of all spam captured in SophosLabs's global network of spam traps. According to Enterprise Innovation, India was accountable for 11.4 percent of the world's spam seen throughout April, May and June. In terms of share in the global total, other spam-relaying countries are Italy (7 pct), South Korea (6.7 pct), USA (6.2pct), Vietnam (5.8pct), Brazil (4.4pct), Pakistan (3.7pct), China (3.2pct), France (3.1pct), Russia (2.9pct), Poland 2.7pct, and Taiwan (2.6pct). According to the report, the rest of the world accounts for 40.3 percent of global spam. Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, pointed out that the chief driver for Asia's dominance in the spam charts is the 'sheer number of compromised computers in the continent'.
A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO, cyber security experts sabotaged the Grum botnet, a network of hundreds of thousands of infected computers that in its heyday churned out an estimated 18 billion junk e-mails each day — roughly one-third of the world’s spam. So farewell, Mr. Felix Bamba, “Accountant in reputable Bank in West Africa.” I hope you find a “co-confidant” to take that $25,500,000 off your hands. This victory solves only part of the problem, though. The real clots in our in-boxes come from spam that is more insidious because it is actually legitimate —though no less annoying than ungrammatical pleas from shady strangers. This legacy spam consists of missives from actual companies with which we once had relationships: reminders of Amazon gifts ordered for ex-boyfriends, deals from restaurants best forgotten. Message after message recalls the person we once were and might never wish to be again. It’s the modern equivalent of cringing at your high school yearbook. Nowadays, the past is persistent and delivered via automated mailing list. The daily e-mails fall into three general categories. The first involves special interest groups that maintain a chokehold on everyone in their databases. I routinely receive missives from President Obama and his staff. Their ominous, overly familiar subject lines are scarier than anything from West Africa. Titles like “It’s officially over” and “This is not a joke” don’t exactly make me want to run to my nearest campaign office to distribute leaflets. As possible compensation, Obama staffers occasionally send chummy notes, addressed to “friend,” asking me to wish the president happy birthday and the like. Hey, Obama, if we’re so tight, where was my invite to that fund-raiser at Sarah Jessica Parker’s? The second category involves purchases that dredge up painful memories. Tops on my list is the overzealous FTD, which seems to urge me to recognize loved ones on Arbor Day, National Hot Dog Day, every Monday. I used this service once: to order my grandmother a birthday bouquet. My beloved Nana passed away five years ago, a fact that I’m reminded of each time FTD begs me to order a gift basket. The third category is the most insulting. These are the sales e-mails designed to incite panic. Every day, places where I haven’t shopped in years deploy urgent messages trumpeting sales that make me feel like Jay-Z, a millionaire without a care, every time I hit “delete.” Summer shorts for the whole family! Free shipping on clearance items — today only! I break out in a sweat, trying to determine which family member might require an extra-small linen romper, only to realize that the promotion code has expired. Listen, Ann Taylor Loft: We had fun for a while back in 2007, when I was childless and had money to burn on “spring essentials!” Our moment has passed, and now I just feel like a chump for giving you my e-mail address in the first place.
The Dropbox file-sharing service suffered a setback in its efforts to move into the enterprise more forcefully after being hit by a spam attackthat stemmed from the breach of an employee's account. Dropbox confirmed Tuesday that a stolen employee password led to the theft last month of a "project document" that contained user e-mail addresses. With addresses in hand, the hacker then proceeded to spam European users of the cloud-storage service with ads for gambling Web sites. In investigating the theft, the company found that usernames and passwords stolen from other Web sites were used to access "a small number" of Dropbox accounts, an indication that account holders were using their credentials on multiple sites. Experts consider that practice a serious security risk, because hackers often use stolen credentials to enter other services.
Despite the inadequate savings account funds belonging to millions of Americans in this slow economy, many still find solace in their ability to donate toward a cause they feel strongly about. What new donors may quickly come to realize, however, is that their act of kindness could leave them vulnerable to unwanted solicitations from the very causes they intended to support. The Charity Navigator, a website that rates charity organizations, shared that the total giving to charitable organizations in 2011 was at $298.42 billion, an increase of 4 percent compared to 2010. Of that amount, 73 percent came directly from individual donors. With so many Americans willing to donate to the millions of support groups soliciting for funds, it's imperative donors read between the lines--or, in my experience, the fine print. When I submitted my name and e-mail address for an entry to win a chance to meet President Barack Obama, little did I know I was unknowingly entertaining spam e-mail. Obama for America Spam The contest to dine with the president was sponsored by Obama for America, and no monetary contribution was necessary to enter, but donations were welcomed. I figured that it was no big deal, so why not? Upon entering the contest, I was taken to a page that continued to suggest I donate. I ignored it and moved on with my life (or so I thought).
In the first six months of this year, the U.S. was back on the list of the top 10 spam senders worldwide, landing in sixth place. The distribution of unwelcome or dangerous emails was on the rise again in the first half of 2012, despite the fact that numerous spam-sending botnets have been shut down in the past two years, according to the results of analyses by the research team at German email security specialist Eleven. The study showed there was 54.8 percent more spam (after dipping 3.7 percent in the first quarter), 52.4 percent more identified malware and 90 percent more virus outbreaks in the second quarter of 2012. Another key trend of the first half of 2012 was the rise in spam, phishing and malware campaigns targeted to a specific country, customers of a regional banking institution or the users of specific services, such as with Amazon’s German site or PayPal users, with malware campaigns disguised as phony mobile telephone bills, notification slips and tax notifications. Typical characteristics were a clearly limited recipient area, credible content, high language quality and Websites that are almost perfect copies of the originals. In June, it reached fifth, alongside Germany (third) and the United Kingdom (eighth), one of three Western countries placing among the top 10 sources of spam, with India remaining the top spam-producing country. This indicates a remarkable comeback after the Rustock botnet was shut down in March 2011, when the volume of spam coming from Western countries was reduced to a trickle. “The clear shift in spam topics and countries of origin indicates a gradual return to the pre-Rustock shutdown status quo,” the report noted. “This means that botnet operators have been at least partially successful in replacing the capacity they lost last March. The increase in the spam volume could also be evidence of the existence of new botnet infrastructures.”