Every 90 minutes, the office phones of all five FCC Commissioners rings and John Oliver's voice comes out of it, demanding that they take action on robocalls, reversing FCC Chairman (and former Verizon exec) Ajit Pai's policy of relying on carriers to self-police their anti-robocall measures, and heading off his plan to gut the existing, weak protections.
Read the rest “Trump's FCC relies on telcos to self-police anti-robocall measures and they're planning on gutting existing regs, so John Oliver is robocalling the whole FCC every 90 minutes”
A guy named "Aaron" has been pitching Reddit moderators and other influential Redditors on their participation in a lucrative scam to inflate the popularity of posts about different cryptocurrencies, using massive farms of bots that post and upvote through a network of proxies that make them seem like they're distributed all over the world.
Read the rest “Anatomy of a Reddit cryptocurrency spam-factory”
For at least a couple of years, Twitter has allowed one porn spam bot to clog up search results for common women's names, as well as for names of young female celebrities. It would not take a lot to create an algorithm to block this specific spam, but it's still here, because Twitter can't seem to address the platform's pervasive hostility to women. Read the rest “Twitter's NSFW porn spam nightmare for women with common names”
A new twist on an old email scam making the rounds addresses its recipients by name and uses an actual password (hopefully deprecated). They attempt to blackmail victims, and it's definitely a little anxiety-inducing to see an old password written out. Read the rest “New sextortion phishing scam uses target's harvested password”
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 email@example.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 “Forward your spam to firstname.lastname@example.org and a bot will waste the spammer's time”
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 “Spam was nearly dead, then it became an essential tool for crime and came roaring back”
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 “What it's like to be a reporter under cyberattack”
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:
Read the rest “Organized Hawaiian SPAM thievery”
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.
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 “Phishing for Bitcoin with fake 0-days”
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 “'Spam King' Sanford Wallace gets 2.5 years in prison for 27 million Facebook scam messages”
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 “Microsoft spams corporate users with messages denigrating their IT departments”
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 “19th century spam came by post, prefigured modern spam in so many ways”
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 “Snowshoeing: small-batch spam that's less targeted than spear-phishing”
If body contains "unsubscribe" and From: is not any of my addressbooks, then move message to folder "Spam." You're welcome. Read the rest “Spam-fighting mail-rule”
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 “Turns out that "unsubscribing" from spam actually works”
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 “Video perfectly captures CAPTCHA anxiety”