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Spammers targeting SpamCop, Aussie expert reports

  • 23 November, 2006 10:11

<p>Spammers are using new tactics to counter global spam-reporting services, reports Australian data security specialist company TotalBlock Pty Ltd.</p>
<p>The evidence came to light when one of TotalBlock’s anti-spam solution customers was sent a spam email, which TotalBlock’s spam-blocking technique challenged. The original spammer then reported TotalBlock’s challenge to SpamCop, as a spam email.</p>
<p>SpamCop is an Ironport Systems, Inc. initiative that determines the origin of unwanted email and reports it to the relevant Internet service providers.</p>
<p>TotalBlock CIO Ben Corby, who created the TotalBlock challenge-response solution for countering spam, said: “We believe this is clear evidence that Spamcop is being duped by spammers, who are directly targeting the reporting system. There is little doubt that other reporting sites are being similarly hit by false spam claims.</p>
<p>“In our case, all we sent back to the spammer was a failed delivery receipt – multitudes of these are sent across the Internet. We believe that spammers are automating false spam reports because Spamcop has no way of dealing with them. Anyone can report spam, including spammers. It is clear they are trying to destabilise the system.”</p>
<p>Corby said this vulnerability of blacklists created from such false reports had the potential to throw global business communications into confusion, since Internet service providers (ISPs) the world over use such services.</p>
<p>In contrast, the SpamCop web site (www.spamcop.net) claims: “By reporting spam, you have a positive impact on the problem. Reporting unsolicited email also helps feed spam filtering systems, including, but not limited to, SpamCop's own service.”</p>
<p>About TotalBlock</p>
<p>TotalBlock - www.totalblock.net - is an Australian-developed anti-spam solution that also guards against network overloads caused by storming, harvesting and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. It works by blocking ALL machine-generated unwanted email, using a challenge-response technique rather than commonly used filtering. TotalBlock builds a list of acceptable incoming email senders, using a customer’s address book as well as replying automatically to any emailers who are not on the allowed list. The reply contains a simple action that, when followed, adds the sender to the allowed list. The action can be as simple as replying to the challenge. Since this authorisation process requires human intervention, it bypasses drone machines that spew out huge volumes of spam.</p>
<p># # #</p>
<p>For more information</p>
<p>Peter Stewart or Ben Corby
TotalBlock Pty Ltd
Tel. 61-2-9437 9800</p>

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