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  1. Inboxes Rejoice: Botnet Behind 18% of Spam Taken Down

    The Grum botnet has been one of the most prominent distributors of spam for years, ranking third in terms of world spam volume. Yesterday, network security corporation FireEye reported that all of Grum's command and control servers (or CnC's) had been taken down after a weeks-long effort. Thanks to the work of a number of individuals who contributed to the takedown, we may see a significant decrease in the volume of the world's spam in the coming months.

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  2. Twitter Says It Spent Over $700,000 Fighting Spam From Just Five Sources

    In Twitter's recently announced spammer lawsuit, the micro-blogging service said (in a lot more than 140 characters) that they hoped to cut off spam at the source by going after its creators. In its suit, Twitter claims to have spent an awful lot of money trying to hold the deluge back; about $700,000 to fight spam from only the five sources mentioned in the suit.

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  3. Twitter to Turn Law-Cannon on Fleet of Spam Cruisers

    Anyone on Twitter who made the mistake of saying something like "iPad" in a tweet knows that there are spammers out there, and they are legion. For the most part they just fire sketchy links at you, offering a bevy of free goods, and clogging up your mentions page. But no longer, if Twitter has anything to say about it. Although its arsenal of anti-spammer security precautions manage to blast some of the spambots out of the twittersphere, there are some that still get through, so Twitter is breaking out a new super weapon: The shining, golden fist of Law.

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  4. Pinterest Spammer Makes $1,000 a Day Spamming Pinterest

    Not too long ago, the Daily Dot wrote an article describing how to spot a spammer on Pinterest. They focused on a user named final-fantas07, and not too long after the article went up, the very same user contacted the Daily Dot and divulged interesting details regarding his operation, including that he makes around $1,000 a day spamming Pinterest, and expects that number to jump to $2,000 to $2,500 soon.

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  5. India Is The Top Source For Spam Email

    According to a recent report from Internet security firm Kaspersky, India is currently the number one country in the world when it comes to generating spam email. According to Kasperksy, in the third quarter of last year, spam accounted for about 79.8% of email traffic, and the top three countries responsible for generating it were India at 14.8%, Indonesia at 10.6%, and Brazil at 9.7%. This is a little bit up from a reported low point this summer, and India might be to blame.

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  6. Spam At Its Lowest Level Since 2008

    According to computer security juggernaut Symantec (makers of Norton Antivirus) global spam levels are the lowest they've been since 2008, when a particularly notorious spam center was taken offline. Worldwide, spam is now down to only 1 in 1.37 emails and only 73.7 percent of emails as a whole. Yes, that's right. This is considered a low-point.

    While there is clearly still a remarkable spam presence on the Internet, some of the current lull could be attributed to progress in taking down the largely automated networks responsible for spending it. Not to mention, spam filters are getting better and by this point, most Internet users understand what spam is and how to effectively avoid it. There's also no telling what percentage of these recorded spam emails are being sent to largely inactive, or disposable accounts.

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  7. What Happens When You Buy Things from Spam E-Mails?

    Since it's their job to protect customers from the darkest spawn of the Web, the brave, possibly foolhardy researchers at F-Secure decided to simply buy a bunch of products advertised in spam e-mails and see what happened. Though we don't recommend that you try this at home, the results were not what you might expect:

    While doing some spam research a couple of years ago, we did a series of test purchases from spam e-mails. We bought pills, software, cigarettes, et cetera. We were a bit surprised that almost all of the orders went through and actually delivered goods. Sure, the Windows CD we got was a poor clone and the Rolex was obviously fake, but at least they sent us something. We were carefully watching the credit card accounts we created for our tests but we never saw any fraudulent use of them. The most surprising outcome from this test was that we didn't see more spam to the e-mail addresses we used to order the goods.
    They offer this sad addendum, however: "P.S. We never actually got the Rolex we ordered. It was stopped and confiscated by local customs as a pirated product. They ended up destroying it. With a hammer." See also: This new study on the worldwide spam business. [pdf] (F-Secure via Marginal Revolution)

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  8. Spammer’s Delight: Researchers Defeat Audio CAPTCHAs

    When logging into a website or establishing a new account, many users are prompted to decipher a visually distorted string of letters and numbers to keep spammers from gaining access. This list of characters is a CAPTCHA, a puzzle that is glaringly easy for most humans but that stops computers from automatically deciphering the text. CAPTCHAs also come in audio form for the visually impaired, but these audio puzzles are an easy target for would-be spammers. An audio CAPTCHA is a list of letters or numbers read along with additional audio distortion. The user has to list the characters correctly to gain access like with a regular visual CAPTCHA. A team of researchers from Stanford University, led by Elie Bursztein, has developed an algorithm that can automatically defeat audio CAPTCHAs. The ability to automatically solve CAPTCHA puzzles would allow spammers to create new accounts and thus even more spam.

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  9. Daniel Balsam, the Man Who Quit His Job to Make a Living Suing Spammers

    Since 2002, a man named Daniel Balsam has made a career out of suing companies that send spam messages via email. Formerly a marketer, Balsam quit his job, went to law school, and has since made "well in excess of $1 million in court judgments and lawsuit settlements with companies accused of sending illegal spam."

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  10. What Was the SpaceX Spacecraft’s Secret Payload?

    Yesterday, SpaceX became the first private company to successfully launch a spacecraft into orbit and then guide it back to Earth. Propelled by a Falcon 9 rocket, SpaceX's Dragon capsule circled the Earth twice and landed unharmed in the Pacific. At yesterday's press conference following the mission's success, CEO Elon Musk revealed that it had carried a secret payload the whole time, but he wouldn't say what it was, only that "if you like Monty Python, you’ll love the secret." This led some to speculate that it was Spam. But it wasn't:

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