Forward your spam to sp@mnesty.com and a bot will waste the spammer's time

Spamnesty is a simple service: forward your spam to it and it will engage the spammer in pointless chatbot email chains, wasting their time.

If you get a spam email, simply forward it to sp@mnesty.com, and Spamnesty will strip your email address, pretend it's a real person and reply to the email. Just remember to strip out any personal information from the body of the email, as it will be used so the reply looks more legitimate. That way, the spammer will start talking to a bot, and hopefully waste some time there instead of spending it on a real victim. Meanwhile, Spamnesty will send you an email with a link to the conversation, so you can watch it unfold live!

The conversations are indeed posted live, and some are quite funny. It's fascinating how obvious it is when a spammer switches from their own bot to giving a human response, and satisfying to see them fooled.

Have you met Lenny? Read the rest

Spam was nearly dead, then it became an essential tool for crime and came roaring back

In the early 2000s, a mix of legislative action, vigorous prosecution and advanced countermeasures looked set to kill spam: the terrible economics of mass-scale marketing could easily be disrupted by even moderately effective curbs. Read the rest

What it's like to be a reporter under cyberattack

Propublica's Julia Angwin (previoulsy) is one of the most fearless, effective investigative journalists reporting on technology; last August, she was subjected to brutal, crude, devastating cyberattacks after the publication of an article she worked on that outed tech companies, ad brokers and payment processors for helping extremists "monetize hate," acting as paymasters for neo-Nazis, the alt-right, and genocidal racists. Read the rest

Organized Hawaiian SPAM thievery

Hawaii, the only market left for SPAM in the United States, is suffering a rash of SPAM heists. This isn't just folks needing to grab a can of SPAM to feed the family, it appears these are highly organized, tactical SPAM swipings.

Via Grub Street:

Hawaii is under siege by Spam bandits. Individuals in the state have pulled off a series of brazen canned-meat heists. The thefts have become so common, the Washington Post reports, that some shops are protecting the mystery-meat gold by locking it in plastic cases usually reserved for pricier items.

At a Safeway on Oahu, a customer spotted a man who grabbed eight cases of Spam and made a beeline for the exit. In another instance, three women at a Longs drugstore filled shopping carts with 18 cases of Spam and bolted — but were thwarted by a customer no doubt compelled to defend Hawaii’s Spam supply. Meanwhile, the Honolulu Police Department has offered $1,000 for a Spam thief, and his alleged accomplice, who attacked a security guard that tried to protect his employer’s Spam. (Where’s America’s most badass service-industry professional when you need him?)

These Spam-burglars aren’t part of some noble Robin Hood–like pursuit. Instead, officials say the thefts are due to the state’s thriving Spam black market. Tina Yamaki, president of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii, tells the Washington Post that the heists are “organized retail crime” and not driven by a need to eat or feed a family.

Read the rest

Phishing for Bitcoin with fake 0-days

Arriving in my inbox at a steady clip this morning: a series of phishing emails aimed at Bitcoiners, promising that the sender has found a bug in "the Bitcoin client" and promising "Pay 0.07 BTC today, get 10 BTC for 15 hours." Read the rest

'Spam King' Sanford Wallace gets 2.5 years in prison for 27 million Facebook scam messages

A hacker who called himself 'Spam King' and sent 27 million unsolicited Facebook messages for a variety of scams has been sentenced to 30 months in jail. Read the rest

Microsoft spams corporate users with messages denigrating their IT departments

If your company hasn't "upgraded" your computer to Windows 10 -- a tendril of what Shoshana Zuboff calls surveillance capitalism masquerading as a "free OS" -- you may start receiving messages from Microsoft telling you that your IT department is holding you back: "Your system administrator has blocked upgrades on this PC. Check with your system administrator about upgrading this PC to Windows 10." Read the rest

19th century spam came by post, prefigured modern spam in so many ways

In the 19th century, the nascent advertising industry took notice of the fact that postmasters could send each other letters for free, and bribed them to forward packets of mail to one another to pass on to townspeople ("To Superintendent Sunday School OR ANY ONE INTERESTED IN MUSIC"). Read the rest

Snowshoeing: small-batch spam that's less targeted than spear-phishing

Snowshoe spam has a "small footprint" -- it is sent is small, semi-targeted batches intended to sit below the trigger threshold for cloud-email spam filters, which treat floods of identical (or near-identical) messages as a solid indicator of spam. Read the rest

Spam-fighting mail-rule

If body contains "unsubscribe" and From: is not any of my addressbooks, then move message to folder "Spam." You're welcome. Read the rest

Turns out that "unsubscribing" from spam actually works

After my spam hit a point where I couldn't actually download my email faster than it was arriving, I spent a month clicking the unsubscribe links in all the spams in my inbox. Weirdly, it worked. Read the rest

Video perfectly captures CAPTCHA anxiety

If you've ever stressed out about the new batch of timed CAPTCHAs that involve math equations, games, or inaudable audio, this video on CAPTCHA anxiety by videogamedunkey may feel all too familiar.

Read the rest

FCC takes aim at spam texts and robocalls

Telecoms will be given wider latitude to block nuisance messages to their customers, reports the Wall Street Journal. Read the rest

Clinton's sensitive email was passed through a third-party spam filtering service

It's been years since the spam wars were at the front of the debate, but all the salient points from then remain salient today: when you let unaccountable third parties see your mail and decide which messages you can see, the potential for mischief is unlimited. Read the rest

Social graph of mysterious twitterbots

Terence Eden has mined the social graphs of thousands of mysterious, spammy twitterbots, which may or may not be the same larval spambots I wrote about. Read the rest

Brian Krebs's "Spam Nation"

In Spam Nation: The Inside Story of Organized Cybercrime-from Global Epidemic to Your Front Door, Brian Krebs offers a fascinating look at the mass-scale cybercrime that underpins the spam in your inbox and provides an inside peek at a violent fight among its principle players. Cory Doctorow reviews.

Google Maps' enduring security holes put businesses at risk

It's been more than a year since a series of high-profile articles demonstrated that Google Maps' crowdsourcing function can be used create new listings, alter existing business listings, and even create fake Secret Service offices that real-life cops end up calling. Read the rest

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