back to article BILLION email address spam scam: Feds collar two blokes, hunt another

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has shed light on what it's calling the largest computer security breach in American history – after three men were charged with hacking email hosting firms, stealing email addresses, and then using the businesses' data centers to run a spam operation. "These men — operating from Vietnam, the …

  1. Crazy Operations Guy

    Spammers stealing from spammers

    Couldn't have happened to a nicer group of companies... I hate how they aren't considered spammers in the eyes of the law simply because someone bought something from an online store 3 years ago and the terms allowed for them and their partners to send you 'newsletters' and 'Special offers' for the rest of your life (unless you find that 'unsubscribe' link buried deep in the emails footers and then manage to remember the username/password you used when you got signed up for the messages).

    1. Tromos

      Re: Spammers stealing from spammers

      All that usually happens when you hit the 'unsubscribe' link on spam is that you are verifying that the email address is correct and currently active which then makes it much more valuable to sell on to other spammers. If the price for 10000 addresses is 5 euros, the same number of verified active ones can fetch 25 to 50.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Spammers stealing from spammers

        "All that usually happens when you hit the 'unsubscribe' link on spam is that you are verifying that the email address is correct"

        Alternatively you might just have installed something you really didn't want.

  2. DerekCurrie
    Thumb Up

    My Favorite Way To Fight The Spamrats:

    SpamCop

    https://www.spamcop.net

    It's one reason I get nearly zero spam. I've been a paying contributor since 1998 and the spamrats hate my guts. <3 <3 <3

    1. Elmer Phud

      Re: My Favorite Way To Fight The Spamrats:

      "It's one reason I get nearly zero spam."

      I'm not running SpamCop and I also do not get much in the way of spam.

      The occasional remnant of the big Yahoo/Hotmail raid but nothing much at all, one or two a week

      Even the on-line spam filter doesn't really trap that much - maybe about 10 a day.

      Now and then the odd advert from China but then if you buy online it's to be expected as I was involved in a legitimate transaction.

    2. Shannon Jacobs
      Holmes

      If SpamCop is so great, why is there still spam?

      My own experience is that SpamCop lost their fire after the Cisco acquisition. As far as the spammers are concerned, SpamCop is just another minor nuisance to live with.

      To really reduce the spam, the spammers' business models must be broken. As long as they are making money, they will continue to spam. Case in point: How much stock market pump-and-dump spam do you see now? Almost none, because the spammers' business models were targeted and shut down--but only after several academic reports showed the spammers were basically printing money there.

      I wish ANY of the major email providers would take the initiative of creating really effective anti-spammer tools to allow US, the extremely annoyed masses, to break the spammers' business models. Look at the numbers. The suckers who actually feed the spammers are a relatively rare and precious resource. Such profound stupidity doesn't grow on every tree. You don't have to help, but I sure wish I could help categorize the spam and target the best countermeasures to cut the spammers away from the suckers.

  3. tfewster Silver badge
    FAIL

    Anyone else have a problem with this sentence?

    ...several years of hard work as the FBI and its cadre of cyber trained agents and technical experts acted quickly...

    Let alone multiple email providers susceptible to hacking, server takeovers and ongoing pwnage.

    Only the evil haxxors come out of this with any credibility.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "hacked into at least eight US email service providers, and stole more than a billion email addresses."

    Who are the eight ESPs?

    1. KA1AXY

      Now we have an explanation for the never-used email address that starts getting spam within days of its creation. I always suspected there was a leak at the email providers.

  5. nematoad Silver badge

    Oh?

    "... but also the Fortune 500 companies that are so often their targets,"

    No mention I see about the poor bastards (us) who are being swamped with all this rubbish.

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