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Authorities Shut Down Spam Ring




Authorities Shut Down Spam Ring
Authorities Shut Down Spam Ring



http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/15/technology/internet/15spam.html 

By BRAD STONE
New York Times
October 14, 2008

The Federal Trade Commission won a preliminary legal victory against 
what it called one of the largest spam gangs on the Internet, persuading 
a federal court in Chicago on Tuesday to freeze the group's assets and 
order the spam network to shut down.

The group, which used several names but was known among spam-fighting 
organizations as HerbalKing, sent billions of unsolicited messages to 
Internet users over the last 20 months, promoting replica watches and a 
variety of pharmaceuticals, including weight-loss drugs and herbal pills 
that supposedly enhanced the male anatomy, according to the commission.

"This is pretty major. At one point these guys delivered up to one-third 
of all spam," said Richard Cox, chief information officer at SpamHaus, a 
nonprofit antispam research group.

The investigation provides a clear window into the business of modern 
spam, which by some estimates accounts for 90 percent of all e-mail sent 
over the Internet.

To pepper Internet users with its solicitations, the HerbalKing group 
used a botnet, a global network of computers infected with malicious 
software, often without the knowledge of their owners.

The security firm Marshal Software, which assisted the F.T.C. with the 
investigation, estimated in court documents that the group.s Mega-D 
botnet - named after one of its pill products - was made up of 35,000 
computers and could send 10 billion e-mail messages a day. In January, 
the botnet was the leading source of spam on the Internet, the firm 
estimated.

[...]


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