back to article And now for something completely different: Good news on spam

In the ever-escalating world of cyber insecurity, it's rare to find good news. And yet the Security and Exchange Commission on Thursday did just that as it reviewed data showing stock-touting junk mail has dropped significantly since a tough anti-spam campaign kicked off in March. Spam related to financial services comprised …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Scared of a sting?

    I understand that some of the email addresses stolen from TD Ameritrade aren't receiving pump-and-dump spam anymore - at least the ones only given to TD Ameritrade. So either TD Ameritrade told their partners to stop spamming, or the spammers are afraid of the head and expect a sting operation. Which is it? Time will tell.

  2. Ralph B

    The End In Sight

    So, all we need is a suspension of the sale of viagra and lottery tickets and we can get back to using e-mail again.

  3. Matt Thornton

    What? How is this good news?

    - "The drop came even as the overall amount of spam rose"

    I don't give a toss what flavour of spam it is, it's still spam. 419, viagara, bigger chap, amazing stock options... whatever - it all clogs my inbox.

    The fact that this type of spam is going down shows ONLY that the spam creators will be looking for (and finding) new ways to fool spam filters and so we can all expect to receive more spam, not less, in the near future.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ha Ha Ha!

    "data showing stock-touting junk mail has dropped significantly"

    I haven't seen any reduction.

  5. Tony Barnes

    Bugger me

    I never realised those stupid ticker tape spam scams actually had any effect!

    I wonder if they actually helped any of the "victims" earn some money...???

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re Bugger me

    A few months back I had one plugging a UK business - Patientline.

    There share price rose a few hours after the spam and stayed high for a while. I don't know for how long, but I could have made a profit if I bought straight away.

  7. Lukin Brewer

    Too many crooks spoil the rip-off?

    Maybe the pump-and-dumpers are finding that bigger fish are swimming in and consuming their profits.

    There are hundreds of investment houses around the world, earning their bread and Colombian frosting by trying to work out which shares are going to rise or fall. In between liquid lunches and frequent nostril-to-desktop action, they scan the markets and news across the world, looking for anything that might affect share prices. For such an establishment, it would be worth setting up a standalone PC with a few spam-magnet email accounts, and getting someone junior to collate together the pump-and-dump emails and provide hourly reports to the traders, with trends.

    Professional traders in an investment house would probably have better access to the markets, and could probably beat the spammers to the punch when it came to selling off the inflated shares. Or, as the shares picked for pump-and-dumps are usually inferior performers and unlikely to recover quickly after the pump-and-dump treatment, the investment house might just decide to sell off any holdings they have in that company immediately. It wouldn't take many such investment houses to make the value of a pumped share collapse before any ill-gotten gains could be reaped from it.

    Ain't life just tough all over!

  8. Chris Hedley Silver badge

    A lower proportion doesn't mean there's less of it

    "I haven't seen any reduction."

    Me neither, just a bigger increase in everything else: 50-100 spams daily (not including the numerous non-deliveries to the fake address lists sold to halfwits and other annoyances) six months ago, 200-250 daily now. I'm afraid it's a bit of a stretch to call that "good news" of any sort really, other than for the spammers' ability to waste even more of everyone else's time and resources.

  9. Thomas Sandford

    Re Bugger me

    I wasted a happy half hour trying to report the Patientline pump & dump to a regulatory authority.

    It was hard enough trying to find _who_ should receive such a report; and even harder to find contact information for them.

    I eventually spent about 10 minutes on the phone to a very bemused gentleman who I don't think quite undertstood why a member of the public would be trying to make a report on such an issue.

    My general conclusion - for the time being you can P&D on the UK SE at will, as no-one in authority understands the process well enough to do a damn thing about it.

    The patientline one was utterly blatant - I think I received over 100 copies of the mail - and as "anonymous vulture" noted, noticeably affected the share price.

  10. laird cummings

    That gives me an idea...

    If I want to sabotage a company, now all I need to do is spam their stock symbol, and the SEC will do the dirty work for me.

  11. Mike Moyle

    Re: "That gives me an idea... "

    "...our research indicates that in the next few days, Microsoft (MSFT) will be releasing a new vwersion of their "Vista" operating system that isn't craptastic bloatware, and ACTUALLY WORKS! This is going to be BIG NEWS and is expected to drive their stock prices into the stratosphere. The time to buy is NOW!"

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