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International Spam Ring Shut Down

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the spamhaus-top-ten dept.

Oracle 243

smooth wombat writes "An international spam ring with ties to Australia, New Zealand, China, India, and the US is in the process of being shut down. Finances of members in the US are being frozen using the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 while the FBI is pursuing criminal charges. The group sent spam advertising male enhancement herbs and other items using a botnet estimated at 35,000 computers, and able to send 10 billion emails per day. The Federal Trade Commission monitored the group's finances and found that they had cleared $400,000 in Visa charges in one month alone."

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243 comments

Of Spammy Ring... (4, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375427)

"Of spammy ring"
In the shower we sing,
While suds we fling,
Cleanshaven chin bring...
Burma Shave

Re:Of Spammy Ring... (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375845)

How can you make a Burma Shave joke on Slashdot, where most of the users were born at least a decade after the last sign came down?

Re:Of Spammy Ring... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25375895)

How can you make a Burma Shave joke on Slashdot, where most of the users were born at least a decade after the last sign came down?

It simply shows how sophisticated and well-read we are.

Re:Of Spammy Ring... (3, Informative)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375927)

Well, the process involves some doggerel and typing...
But the real point is to escape briefly the election season.

Three Rings (5, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376233)


Three Rings spamming the Elven-kings for Cialis to buy,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords to refinance their home of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men lacking in size,
One for the Dark Lord reading his pr0n
In the Land of Mordor where the Spammers lie.
One Ring to spam them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to fleece them all and in their greed bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Spammers lie.

Re:Three Rings (1)

shams42 (562402) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376803)

Post of the year! I quoted you on my facebook page. Don't worry, I gave attribution. Thanks for making my day.

Jeez you people... (5, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375453)

just stop buying stuff advertised by spam already.

Re:Jeez you people... (1)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375481)

No kidding, almost enough to make me consider going into spam as a business... ok, not really ... but 400K/month?!

Re:Jeez you people... (5, Insightful)

ari_j (90255) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375531)

I want to punch every one of those assholes who buys products advertised by spam e-mail in his face. I've been saying for years that, if the supply of gullible idiots with credit cards dried up, the spammers would reduce their efforts drastically.

Re:Jeez you people... (2, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375625)

Quit being a douchebag. Did you see the part where they're capable of sending out billions of emails per day? That they cleared $400,000 in a month? Do the math. If they used .1% of that capacity, it's not even pennies per email. In a way you're right that people should stop sending money to spammers. However, at the numbers we're talking about, people with IQ's less than 75 alone could make these schemes profitable.

Re:Jeez you people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25375815)

Uh, how did this get modded up? You didn't even address the OP's point. If no idiots bought these damn penis enlargement pills, there would be no incentive to spam.

Re:Jeez you people... (5, Insightful)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376293)

And if pig's could fly...

The OP's point was pointless. An astoundingly small percentage of the population responds to Spam. There is no way imaginable to magically stop every single ignorant, insecure, chump with a credit card from using it for herbal penis pills.

Re:Jeez you people... (5, Interesting)

antic (29198) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376425)

And those people are not going to be reading Slashdot. That's why I'm surprised that the government and ISPs have not cooperated to mount a branded effort to discredit spam (risk of stolen credit card, product not showing up, etc) and educate the masses.

If spam is a burden for ISPs (extra bandwidth, plus complaining users) surely they'd jump on board a campaign if a government or organised group could provide good educational materials.

We watch awkward anti-piracy spiels in cinemas before movies, why couldn't ISPs incorpoate anti-spam messages into their sites, marketing material, bills, etc?

Re:Jeez you people... (5, Interesting)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375631)

Maybe to apply for a credit card, instead of beiing age>=18*, there should be a gullible test.

*
If age >= 18 then can get a credit card;
else only with parental consent.

Re:Jeez you people... (2)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376339)

The problem is why would the credit card companies want to do that? The only people the credit card companies don't want to give credit to are people who can't pay their bills, gullible or not.

Re:Jeez you people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25376681)

The credit companies would get sued for discrimination.

Re:Jeez you people... (4, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375671)

Sorry but you, on your own, will find a cure for AIDS which involves duct tape and a toothbrush before you get rid of the idiots that buy things from spam email.

Re:Jeez you people... (2, Funny)

ari_j (90255) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376391)

Slashdotters don't have a lot of motivation for curing STDs, or you would have got the Informative mod instead of just Funny. However, I did manage to cure my carpal tunnel syndrome with spare condoms and breath mints. And I'm probably not the only one here.

Re:Jeez you people... (4, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376107)

The supply will never dry up.

Look at the current banking crisis. Bankers, realtors, appraisers, all conspiring to convince some gullible idiot that he or she can afford to not only buy a house 3X their yearly income, but said house would become a magic money machine. The ARM mortgage would be no problem because the laws of conservation no longer existed, and the double digit growth in value would continue forever, and the house could be sold at a profit at any point.

Then there were the gullible idiots who bought the magical risk free packaged investments based on the magical mortgages. These magical financial instruments were another guaranteed trove of never ending money generation.

Of course, like spammers, the only people who made money were the criminals, and, like spammers, should be in jail.

The flaw in your logic is easy money is that only thing that makes people stupid faster than easy sex. Tell people that a magic fairy will give them money, and most will believe it. That is why our presidential candidates primary sources of income, alcohol and gambling, are so lucrative.

Re:Jeez you people... (1)

Pervaricator General (1364535) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376269)

The economy has far more effective (if a little bit more broad stroked) means of revenge. Especially in such a networked world, these people will hopefully have a hard time getting a job, and have been effectively removed from the system by their own deceit and incompetence (at least until it drops off their credit report).

Re:Jeez you people... (2, Informative)

endymion.nz (1093595) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376927)

Er... buying a house 3 times your yearly income is gullible? The average house price in New Zealand is about 11 times the average income. (400k vs 35k)

Re:Jeez you people... (2, Informative)

Pervaricator General (1364535) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376235)

People will always be stupid/desperate/gullible. The same "demand side" argument could be made for drugs/copyright violation (wow, what a can of worms). If you want to fight it, you have to do it as a whole: cut off both the supply and demand sides, and saying "if only they would just stop" is missing half the point.

The only difference between the aforementioned 3 issues is zeal of enforcement, and you should direct your resources to those who would ratchet up enforcement or encourage leniency in regards to these issues. IE: A significant majority of people don't want spam and choose to stamp it out (though right to send it might be a point of contention); our resources are bent to vilify enforcement and glorify drug use in pop culture, while simultaneously giving millions per year to enforcement agencies (talk about a schizophrenic country); similarly, a copyright czar was recently authorized as people see violation as a problem (not a very big one, and not as big as spam since it has taken THIS long to enact.

By swaying the opinion of those around you through persuasive talking/blogging/civil disobedience (see XKCD's latest entitled "Steal This Comic", you can change the nature of the fight from a purely demand side (arresting drug users or allowing song downloaders to be sued) to an effective approach.

Re:Jeez you people... (1)

amirulbahr (1216502) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376563)

I want to punch every one of those assholes who buys products advertised by spam e-mail in his face. I've been saying for years that, if the supply of gullible idiots with credit cards dried up, the spammers would increase their efforts drastically.

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Jeez you people... (2, Funny)

WTF Chuck (1369665) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375983)

At those rates, for a comfortable living, I could either work 2 weeks out of the year, or work year round and go into full retirement after about 3 years.

The thing that I would really like to know is where all the idiots that buy from spam are. I could easily sell off a few of my surplus bridges and retire.

Re:Jeez you people... (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376759)

Anyone you know that doesn't read Slashdot would be a good place to start looking.

Re:Jeez you people... (1)

bjcarne (1261192) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376591)

01010100 01101000 01100001 01101110 01101011 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 00111010 01101111 00101001

Re:Jeez you people... (3, Interesting)

shotgunefx (239460) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375569)

Hear hear!

I look at the spam and I get and I think why would anyone respond to this crap? Porno aside, why would anyone think it's a good idea to buy medicine, products or anything else from some shady stranger?

The other surprising with this story, is that efficiency aside, it seems that the makers actually included an attempt at a shoddy (and probably dangerous) pill. I would have just guessed they used sawdust. LOL

Re:Jeez you people... (0, Flamebait)

marxmarv (30295) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375761)

Porno aside, why would anyone think it's a good idea to buy medicine, products or anything else from some shady stranger?

Better a shady stranger than a shady corporation. The shady stranger is unlikely to funnel his profits into lobbying.

Re:Jeez you people... (1)

gilgongo (57446) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375597)

just stop buying stuff advertised by spam already.

"Jeez" yourself - the days when spam was about selling stuff ended about 5 years ago. Sure, it may look like they're selling meds or something, but it's much more likely to be just one step in a bigger plan they're running.

Really - if it was as simply as following the money then do you think we wouln't have nailed spam by now?

Re:Jeez you people... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375893)

So whats the point of spam now? It isn't just a bunch of hackers wanting to proclaim that they managed to take control of a bunch of 0wn3d B0x3s. There has to be money involved, and even if it isn't the spammers getting the $ from the drugs, someone obviously has to have the money to pay the spammers to send spam messages.

Re:Jeez you people... (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375993)

Collection of credit card information and personal details in order to commit identity fraud and other such horrendously undesirable stuff.

Obviously.

Re:Jeez you people... (1)

plover (150551) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376135)

The point of spam is still as simple as it ever was: make money off of stupid people.

What's not always obvious is who is making the money, and who are the stupid people. It's not necessarily Charley and his Giant Penis pills, but rather the guy sending the emails. If he gets $1.00 to spend a million emails, at 10 billion spams per day he's making $10,000 a day. He doesn't care if Charley sells one pill or a million -- he got his money up front.

The email sender might even be fleecing the spam authors. If he bought a few dozen on the sly just to make Charley think that his spam is golden and that his sender can deliver, then Charley might just dump a bucket of money into the sender's hands.

Now in this case it looks like the spammers and the email senders were pretty closely related, and everybody including the spammers actually were making a profit selling the drugs. But in general, that doesn't have to be the case.

Re:Jeez you people... (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376153)

Much of it is about infecting systems with malware to steal information available through it (passwords, account numbers, credit cards, etc.), and then spreading those infections further to gather more information. That identity information is then sold around (profit for the obtainers and sellers), and used to illegally purchase items (profit for the buyers).

However, as noted in a post below, there are a number of scammers out there happy to use spam to get their quick buck and then disappear. Unfortunately, there are also some gullible merchants that think that by spamming their information to a few million people, they'll build up a customer base. What they often don't realize is that their business may well attract a stigma that's difficult or impossible to leave behind later.

Re:Jeez you people... (1)

Pervaricator General (1364535) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376299)

Like the econ crisis, there are no simple answers. There are bot nets people advertise as available for sending spam. There are opportunistic guys just looking to make a buck. There are mafia types looking to sell more sinister things and finance more sinister operations. They are all there and it is a huge problem.

Re:Jeez you people... (2, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376853)

Really - if it was as simply as following the money then do you think we wouldn't have nailed spam by now?

When have police even tried to "follow the money"? The amounts in each case are far below the threshold for them to take in interest. Only in a very few cases, so rare that they make headlines, do they make even a token effort to investigate. And maybe one or two spammers a year get charged. The FBI apparently thinks it's more important to have agents pretending to be teenage girls to entrap lonely shlubs in chatrooms than to pay the slightest attention to spammers. And corporations lobby the government to PREVENT any effective laws against spam, so they can do it.

I maintain it IS easy to "follow the money" and catch enough spammers to put some fear into them. Now, they have not the slightest care in the world.

Re:Jeez you people... (4, Insightful)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375833)

You miss the point. Spam almost never makes money from the products it spams, it makes money from the stupid businesses that actually pay money for the spammers to do their dirty work. Such businesses are usually illegal or scams, but the point is that the actual spammers don't care about the products, they just get paid for sending the emails.

Re:Jeez you people... (1)

hibji (966961) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376097)

why would a company pay spammers to send out emails if it doesn't make them money?

Re:Jeez you people... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25376203)

The spammers marketed their product (spam e-mails) really well?

Re:Jeez you people... (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376379)

They don't know if it will work or not until after they do it. I'm sure there's enough suckers out there that the spammers don't heavily rely on repeat business.

Re:Jeez you people... (4, Informative)

Phroggy (441) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376701)

why would a company pay spammers to send out emails if it doesn't make them money?

You're forgetting Rule #1: spammers lie.

The company believes that the spammer has been very successful in the past with their double-opt-in targeted marketing campaigns and the spammer's other clients have been very satisfied, because that's what the spammer tells them. They don't find out the truth until after the spammer has been paid.

Re:Jeez you people... (1)

Neanderthal Ninny (1153369) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376307)

Well what about this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODshB09FQ8w [youtube.com]

Spam. Spam. Spam. Hormel doesn't necessary send out spam but we (not all of us) partake of it as food (hopefully).
Male enhancing drugs, debt relief, and other junk we get in our email boxes needs to stop and right now I don't a dent in the junk I'm receiving.

We got mentioned! (5, Funny)

MavEtJu (241979) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375499)

An international spam ring with ties to Australia, New Zealand, China, India, and the US is in the process of being shut down.

China: > 1 billion people.
India: > 1 billion people.
USA: > 300 million people.
Australia: > 21 million people.
New Zealand: > 4 million people.

But the most important thing, we got mentioned!

Re:We got mentioned! (1)

Revenger75 (1246176) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375817)

The United States has a debt of gratitude to New Zealand for "Lord of the Rings" and "Flight of Conchords."

This won't solve anything (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25375525)

Your post advocates a

( ) technical (x) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to fighting spam. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

( ) Spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
( ) Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
(x) No one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
( ) It is defenseless against brute force attacks
( ) It will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
( ) Users of email will not put up with it
( ) Microsoft will not put up with it
( ) The police will not put up with it
( ) Requires too much cooperation from spammers
( ) Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
( ) Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
( ) Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
( ) Anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

( ) Laws expressly prohibiting it
( ) Lack of centrally controlling authority for email
(x) Open relays in foreign countries
( ) Ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
( ) Asshats
(x) Jurisdictional problems
( ) Unpopularity of weird new taxes
( ) Public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
( ) Huge existing software investment in SMTP
( ) Susceptibility of protocols other than SMTP to attack
( ) Willingness of users to install OS patches received by email
(x) Armies of worm riddled broadband-connected Windows boxes
( ) Eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
(x) Extreme profitability of spam
( ) Joe jobs and/or identity theft
( ) Technically illiterate politicians
( ) Extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
( ) Dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
( ) Bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
( ) Outlook

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

( ) Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever
been shown practical
( ) Any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) SMTP headers should not be the subject of legislation
( ) Blacklists suck
( ) Whitelists suck
(x) We should be able to talk about Viagra without being censored
( ) Countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
( ) Countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) Countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
( ) Sending email should be free
( ) Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) Incompatiblity with open source or open source licenses
(x) Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) Temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
(x) I don't want the government reading my email
( ) Killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

(x) Sorry dude, but I don't think it would work.
( ) This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) Nice try, assh0le! I'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!

Re:This won't solve anything (1)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376011)

Incorrect. All of the mentioned countries have anti-spam laws. As such, jurisdictional issues do not exist as each country co-operates with the others to prosecute the entire damn lot. Did you not see the part where the governments were successful in destroying this spam ring?

Re:This won't solve anything (1)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376683)

Incorrect. All of the mentioned countries have anti-spam laws. As such, jurisdictional issues do not exist as each country co-operates with the others to prosecute the entire damn lot. Did you not see the part where the governments were successful in destroying this spam ring?

Did you not see the part where my inbox is still filled with spam? 20 months of work and they haven't made any noticeable impact on spam. This investigation, and the Can Spam Act, aren't doing anything but wasting tax money.

Hell, my guess is this results in a net increase in spammers. $400k a month for sitting on your ass while botnet computers send spam? I'm half tempted to do that myself. They could be off by two orders of magnitude, and it's still higher than the median income in the US. And we're a rich country.

The only way to fight spam is to educate people on why they shouldn't buy things from it. That will never happen, so spam will always be a "problem."

Exxxcellent (3, Interesting)

ohtani (154270) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375529)

Hopefully this will turn out to be excellent news if they can indeed keep these folks shut down and away from continuing their spamming.

My concerns though are the 35,000 computers being used to spam. How long before they're found again. Or maybe they already are being all used by others. Is there any way of getting these machines repaired or otherwise reported to their ISPs? I figure if they have stats on how many machines, they have info on the machines themselves. Heck if they're setup to "receive updates" for software or holes or whatnot, maybe a nice white hat hacking to "update" the software so it self destructs the wide open hole and patches exploitable holes so they're safe?

Re:Exxxcellent (1)

WTF Chuck (1369665) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376071)

It would be more fun to self-destruct the OS directory, leaving in its place a text file explaining the the original problem, and the methods that were taken to correct the problem.

Re:Exxxcellent (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376899)

Since they probably have access to the program and know its nature, this seems like an excellent opportunity to make use of the Windows Malicious Software Removal tool.

How does this work, exactly. (4, Funny)

blhack (921171) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375557)

Does anybody know how exactly this spam works?

Say I own a widget company...i want to sell my widgets!! I know of this thing called "internet" that a lot of people are using, and decide that I need to utilize it to sell my widgets.

Do I just google for "email marketing"? Do I contact an advertisement agency?
Is there ANY sort of legitimacy involved in spam trafficking?

Do these spammers operate like real live businesses? Can I demand statistics on penetration from them? Do they have offices with receptionists and accountants and shitty corporate art?

Re:How does this work, exactly. (0)

PunkOfLinux (870955) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375647)

Penetration stats, in this case, are not going to be useful. How far they get in orifices is useless for marketing.

No, you've got it exactly backwards (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25376161)

It's the people who have difficulty with penetration who are spending all that money on those pills...

Re:How does this work, exactly. (3, Funny)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375651)

Do I just google for "email marketing"? Do I contact an advertisement agency?

Try it. You can find some places pretty easy after googling "email marketing".

Is there ANY sort of legitimacy involved in spam trafficking?

Short answer: no. Long answer: yes, but only if you define "any" broadly and "legitimate" loosely.

Re:How does this work, exactly. (4, Interesting)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375775)

In the business world, direct email marketing is not considered "intrusive" or "invasive" by the hoards. It might be frustrating to entry-level programmer or minimum-wage Pete, or even Upstart-Business-Guy to get offers from other businesses, but for people who rely on knowing what's new and what's available to make proper decisions and get their jobs done, direct marketing is the first attempt at bridging the communication gap between two companies and starting a successful/profitable business relationship.

It's typically the undirected, consumer mailing and scamming that have given email marketing a bad name; i.e. 3nl4rg3 t3h pen-fifteen. Though, from an outside standpoint, even those are less time-intrusive than television commercials, but oddly not from a social acceptance standpoint.

However, direct email marketing businesses are like the used-car dealerships of today. Most of them are very shady folk selling nothing but rusted nuts and bolts. There are good ones out there that the Fortune 1000 companies rely on as their latest thousand-man rolodex, but you have to do your homework to find them.

Re:How does this work, exactly. (1)

gsgriffin (1195771) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375785)

Let's see...They are usually selling things like "male enhancement" drugs, and you want to know the statistics on penetration from them?!?!? Walked right into that one ;)

Re:How does this work, exactly. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25376725)

and shitty corporate art?

Motivational posters you may find in a spammer's office:

Effort
That's why we have bot nets.

Inevitability
They'll bite. It can't stay hard forever.

Patience
Give a man a fish, he's fed for a day. Teach a man to phish, and he'll only need a monthly catch of 0.001%.

Sp3ll-ch3ck
There's no *F* in phishing, but it's safest to use several in "limifed-fime offer on sfock fips."

Good thing there's a money back guarantee... (4, Funny)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375591)

Who's buying these male enhancements? As I mentioned earlier today, read your guarantee carefully...

If you still have a small penis, simply get a notarized note from your doctor stating it is so, and you can get your money back!

My favorite recent scam (not TFA mentioned above), as reported in the press [cincinnati.com] :

Warshak told him that customers seeking a refund should be required to get a notarized statement from a doctor certifying that their penis had not increased in size.

Re:Good thing there's a money back guarantee... (1)

jefu (53450) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376437)

So, for Joe to get back a fee of $69.95 (times however many months the sucker paid for), he has to have :

  • Had the doctor measure his cock at some previous time (one doctors appointment worth - and will typical medical plans cover this kind of thing?). And had this noted in his medical records (likely to get a psych note somewhere in his records).
  • Had the doctor measure his cock afterwards. (Another doctors appointment worth.)
  • Get the doctor to write down his findings (embarrassing at the very least).
  • Get that notarized (usually a fee involved) and now more people involved so even more embarassing.
  • Probably send this by registered mail.
  • And wait for the scammers to nitpick the whole process.

Simple, inexpensive and reliable way to get your money back from a batch of liars.

Re:Good thing there's a money back guarantee... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25376649)

Not a good plan, unless your doctor measures your [porn-star.com] cock [googlepages.com] like [freeones.com] this [shylastylezblog.com] .

NSFW, duh.

Re:Good thing there's a money back guarantee... (1)

Robert Chapin (1030458) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376909)

I wonder the same thing. For one, I am perfectly happy with my reproductive organs. I also wonder who decides to make a career out sending e-mails?

Fines for those in NZ (5, Informative)

The Ancients (626689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375599)

$200,000 fines are being aimed at three of the offenders here in New Zealand:

http://computerworld.co.nz/news.nsf/news/8D970CCB86C6155ACC2574E200636699

Re:Fines for those in NZ (5, Insightful)

tulmad (25666) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375747)

A $200k fine for people involved in a business doing $400k/month in transactions. Yup, that'll teach 'em!

Re:Fines for those in NZ (1)

Kent Recal (714863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376331)

Well, the fine makes that $400k/month figure look all the more dubious.
Smells like a sensationalist headline to me, maybe the NYT added a 0 or two?

I mean, if they really made $400k a month then why would a judge - who deems them guilty - set such a ridiculous fine?

Also please ponder for a second how much $400.000 dollars really is. Let's assume the average viagra victim pays $20 for his fix. Let's further assume they never actually send out any boxes, thus turnover equals profit. That still means they had no less than 20.000 "customers" a month, every month.

I mean, we all know that there are lots and lots of stupid people on this planet. But 20000 a month? A credit card cashflow of ~400k monthly without drawing attention from the feds for years?

Re:Fines for those in NZ (2, Informative)

jefu (53450) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376463)

When I clicked on "buy this" from a penis enlargement spam the other day (just out of curiosity), the price was $200+. So thats only 2,000 customers.

Re:Fines for those in NZ (1)

Kent Recal (714863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376549)

My faith in mankind is sinking rapidly...

Well, *if* those figures are real then I guess I should reconsider my career path.
$400k a month, heck, only $10k a month is a whole lot of dough for running a few shell-scripts...

Re:Fines for those in NZ (1)

BlueBlade (123303) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376481)

Well, I assume the $400K per month is for more the whole team, in which case $200K per person sounds quite reasonable.

Re:Fines for those in NZ (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376631)

I mean, if they really made $400k a month then why would a judge - who deems them guilty - set such a ridiculous fine?

Exxon, with 400+ billion in revenue (and tens of billions of $$$ in profit) got a judgement struck down for a few billion because it was excessive. I think the numbers were that the actual damage was $2 billion, and the punitive damages were less than three times that, and it was still found to be excessive. It's too bad that we can't all operate that way. Speeding fine? Limited to 3 times actual damage caused. Since you cause no damage if you don't crash, all speeding fines will be set to $0. Oh wait, free passes only count for those that have billions of dollars (they get millions or more of free taxpayer money to suppliment their tens of billions in profit too). The low people like you and me are held to a more strict standard.

mmmm.... ring of Spam... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25375607)

Marge, get me a dozen cans of Spam and your Bundt pan...

Where do they get the crap that they sell? (2, Interesting)

isaac338 (705434) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375645)

In all seriousness, how do these people stay in business? Are they just charging and not delivering any product? If not, where are they getting the shit that they're selling?

And why can't some authority just make a purchase and then trace where the money's going to track them down? Is selling this pseudo-medical crap and prescription drugs even legal?

I can answer that one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25375945)

You run mail servers for a couple decades you figure it out.

In all seriousness, how do these people stay in business? Are they just charging and not delivering any product? If not, where are they getting the shit that they're selling?

And why can't some authority just make a purchase and then trace where the money's going to track them down? Is selling this pseudo-medical crap and prescription drugs even legal?

You can ONLY buy with a credit card. The spammers do not clean out your bank account; that would cause the banks to have them murdered. They take $60 - $200 dollars and deliver either nothing or something useless like a sugar pill or a box of empty toner cartridges. You won't go to the po-po because they only charged you $200 or less.

"Officer, I was stupid enough to send my credit card information to an unknown spammer in order to get my tiny penis enlarged, but it's still tiny!" "HAWHAWHAWHAW write out a complaint Melvin!"

"Officer, I was stupid enough to try to order drugs/child porn/automatic weapons from some faceless spammer on the Internet and all I got in return was a box of garbage!" "HAWHAWHAWHAW we gonna search your house now Melvin... cuff 'im boys!"

Re:Where do they get the crap that they sell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25376075)

In all seriousness, how do these people stay in business?

Most cases, it's not their only business but a sideline for extra revenue. Those that use it as primary income most likely only did so because they were successful during the first phase.

Are they just charging and not delivering any product?

In most cases yes, while some are insane enough to have a bullshit product and actually believe it's useful. FDA (or comparable gov't agency for your nation) approval is hard to get for complete bull some of the time at least. The ones that are shipping tend to have either their own formula or an account with SketchyJurisdictionLand PlaceboMartExpress where one can buy completely ineffective sugar/starch pills with some minor additive that is counted as an herbal supplement (and therefore unregulated and not requiring proof of actually doing what it says in many countries).

Is selling this pseudo-medical crap and prescription drugs even legal?

Sometimes, Homeopathy and pseudo-medical "appliances" can get by as being legal no matter what given the proper disclaimers (IE: This supplement/device is not meant as a treatment for any form of medical condition or diagnosis type messages like say the E-Meter [wikipedia.org] )

And why can't some authority just make a purchase and then trace where the money's going to track them down?

Because there is no centralized world authority that has managed to truely gain jurisdiction over the entire world. Spammers can live in california, set up a front out of russian servers, admin'd by someone from who knows where, with Mr. Bob Middleman cashing the original cheques elsewhere and passing the cash to Calispammer McCheese. Police response (including things like FBI, RCMP, etc) is all well and good when the act of breaking the law takes place within their jurisdiction, but globally it's a completely different game. It would seem that what they're describing with those nations working together is trying to find evidence that would allow for charges to be filed SOMEWHERE at least.

Jail time? (3, Interesting)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375663)

Please, please, please, please, please, please!

Running a botnet's gotta be a jail time worthy offense, right?

Re:Jail time? (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375857)

Jail, hell. Death penalty.

Or what they did to William Wallace:

Wallace was taken from the hall, stripped naked and dragged through the city at the heels of a horse to the Elms at Smithfield. He was hanged, drawn and quartered -- strangled by hanging but released while still alive, emasculated, eviscerated and his bowels burnt before him, beheaded, then cut into four parts. His preserved head was placed on a pike atop London Bridge. It was later joined by the heads of the brothers, John and Simon Fraser. His limbs were displayed, separately, in Newcastle upon Tyne, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Stirling, and Aberdeen.

(from Wikipedia).

Re:Jail time? (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375967)

Sure it is. As is selling dangerous drugs, rape, robbery, and murder. And yet these crimes continue.

Tough laws, by themselves, are never a solution. I'm not saying that tough laws are useless, but we've fallen into this nasty habit of throwing a lot of people in jail and then pretending to ourselves that's we've solved the problem. That pretense has turned out to be pretty expensive — cell space for 7.2 million adults costs. And the problems that we're pretending to solve are pretty much as bad as ever.

Follow the money (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25375683)

That's the thing that I've never understood with crime over the net. Ultimately the criminal is in it for the money, and over the net pretty well all money has to flow through the banking system (most likely credit card processing) at some point. It's obvious that these transaction systems are being monitored. Why don't criminal transactions get stopped immediately, or does it suit someone in a position of trust to let them continue?

Re:Follow the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25375955)

Remember that credit card transactions cost money in fees paid to the validation companies.

Guess who would rather not expend lots of resources in stopping this?

Most of these transactions aren't criminal (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376365)

Some kinds of transactions are criminal - using stolen credit cards or selling their access information - but most of them are between willing buyers and willing sellers and can't be detected by dogs sniffing email packets at the borders.

  • Selling pills is a large popular worldwide business, selling herbal remedies is legal, and as long as the goods are packaged innocuously, they're not going to get caught if the product's bogus unless the buyers complain.
  • Selling wristwatches is even legal! And the seller said they were replicas, so as long as they don't quite violate trademarks, the goods won't get confiscated. (As a merchant in Hong Kong once told me, you want to buy the silver $5 Rolex from the street vendor, not the gold one, because it won't turn your wrists green.)
  • Selling use of botnets on cracked computers is probably illegal, but selling "marketing consulting services" or even "outsourced email services" isn't, and the bill isn't going to say it's for botnets.
  • As far as the credit card companies are concerned, as long as you received the merchandise you ordered, they're happy.
  • The US You-CAN-SPAM law is so easy to work around it's surprising that these guys are getting accused of violating it. If they're making $400K/month, they can afford a couple of thousand dollars a year to set up some shell corporations and buy some appropriate domain names.

They include Developing Countries, so... (0, Troll)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375693)

An international spam ring with ties to Australia, New Zealand, China, India, and the US

Two of these are not like the others. One is known to be an unprosecutable Melamine Country, and the other is known as an unprosecutable Offshoring Country.

One can only guess who's going to get away with their crimes.

Re:They include Developing Countries, so... (1)

Walpurgiss (723989) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375853)

We just need the CIA to pull a black op like in Clear and Present Danger. Drop in a small band of ghosted marines and done.

How did the know in the first place? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25375803)

I'm still trying to figure out how they know that I have a small penis...

Re:How did the know in the first place? (1)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375917)

I'm still trying to figure out how they know that I have a small penis...

When you entered a contest for a free H3 Hummer, they passed along your email to these guys.

If you think that's weird, all I get are spam mails for earplugs, horse-fitted condoms, and candy. I don't even wear earplugs!

Re:How did the know in the first place? (1)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376667)

I'm still trying to figure out how they know that I have a small penis...

Aren't you Pauly Shore?

Will this make any difference? (1)

dalurka (540445) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375821)

I'd like to believe that this will make a difference and I'll see my spam folder fill up a tiny bit slower. But I don't really think that this will make any lasting impact on the volume of spam getting forced upon us. I mean there are probably many actors lining up to take over these naughty boys business.

Hey, enlarge your something! (1)

sw155kn1f3 (600118) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375873)

Message to all thingmakers:
100 years guarantee! Enlarge your something!
Quickly and easily our herb from the Asia jungles makes your thing something.
Don't be too upset if your thing is not something! We could make your thing something, dare I say thing-thing!
Our very herbal thingmaker approved by top thingmakers makes the mixture to make your thing to the thing-thing.
So open your thing to our thing.
Thank you.

Before we get too excited... (2, Informative)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375887)

Have they really accomplished much here? If we RTFA (I know, we don't do that here on slashdot), there is a lot of hype and not a lot of clear progress. It looks like about half of the article is information that spamhaus already likely has. And if the botnet was ordered shutdown by an IL court, I'm not sure what use that would likely be.

The magic elixer (1)

BCW2 (168187) | more than 5 years ago | (#25375911)

People keep thinking a big dick will solve their problems. Can't cure stupid!

Actually I'll believe they have found something when I suddenly see a third of the women walking around bowlegged and glassy eyed.

The solution is windows vista (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25375953)

In a few years when everyone upgrades to security hardened Windows Vista it will mark the end of spam rings and botnets.

Thump them on the head. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25375995)

Perfect! With all those credit card records, we can find out who actually buys stuff from spammers, and thump each one of them on the head.

Bank Security Alerts (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376471)

Does this mean I'll stop getting those bank account phishing attempts with the ugly yellowish background?

Or the stock tip ones with the nice, floating, pastel colored random text on a plain white background, with the actual message in plain black text?

Shock (1)

binaryseraph (955557) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376601)

I actually noticed the difference on my old Yahoo account. They would tag it about 5 times a day with biggerpenis.com pill ads. I did notice, however, that they didnt work on the weekends. I guess even spambots need a couple days off.

How about a fscking RICO prosecution already? (1)

swb (14022) | more than 5 years ago | (#25376711)

I mean come on, let's label this what it is, an organized criminal conspiracy, and let's bring the really harsh laws to bear on these people. The best part is all the assholes in legitimate business colluding with them get to be members of the same conspiracy.

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