HansonMB (1988686) writes "Researchers at the University of California think they may have found the Achilles heel of spam: the companies that process their credit card transactions. “In the end, spam is an advertising business,” Dr. Stefan Savage told the Times. “However, it only makes sense if you can find a way to take people’s money. This means credit cards. Credit cards are the only payment platform that is ubiquitously available to Western consumers and can be used for Internet commerce.”
They tracked down three culprit banks responsible for much of the spam-based transactions: Azerigazbank in Azerbaijan, St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank in St. Kitts and Nevis, and the Latvian branch of the Danish DnB NORD. To do it, they got spammed – hard. The researchers spent months collecting as much spam as they could, waited for the emails advertising Viagra and other herbal remedies to roll in, and, with thousands of dollars at their disposal, started buying. They looked at nearly a billion messages and made 120 purchases, none for more than $277."
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