giovedì 4 novembre 2010

Fay Olinsky posted this in Ecademy as a reply, just great!

How do we rid networks of fakes

Funnily enough I have noticed a distinct fall in the spam and con tricks over the past year. Even the spam box is empty of them. I think this is due to the fact that many of them are from amateurs using work facilities because they didn't have enough to do or enough supervision...and now they have been made redundant for one reason or another, or the demand for casual staff at call centres etc. has diminished due to the downturn.

Having taught students for some time in Electronics and IT I know full well that the majority at a certain age will experiment with spamming and virus building and worms and other stuff they feel empowered to code. It gives them a sense of control over the rest of us...Most grow out of it and a few of the worst offenders at 17 years became the best achieving students later..even to the point of a Law degree at University (These were backward students...mainly dyslexic or with other problems).

There was a set pattern that could identify the nationality of the student and narrow down the possible suspects, usually spelling errors and the type of sexually oriented content of some of the spam. The viruses were more difficult but I can honestly say that the more dyslectic the student the better he/she was at programming.
We did not have a female student who actively took part...other than to be supportive and to make suggestions for content. The boys did it for fun...the girls who egged them on were quite vicious and venomous especially when the dirty deed was aimed at someone specific.

So taking away the student factor in these things...(and you will always get a wave of activity around Christmas holiday time when the 15-16 year old get new computers and a broadband account). You will probably find a small hardcore of people sending out multiple con messages. Apart from the 419 scams which originated in Nigeria apparently, but now emerges from Philippines, Malaysia, Russia, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and USA you can almost pinpoint many others to a small source. The 'women' who address you as 'My Dear' annoy me the most...they never check the gender of their potential victims.
There is one persistent pest operating this scam using an Ecademy address, it is the same person using different names. These people usually use internet cafe accounts and some can fake the email address they are sending from to look as if someone you know is sending it. My son has had his email address compromised like this and it was done via Facebook. Be careful when you allow apps to have access to your profile and friends etc. Best not to allow any access by any app.

The success of scams do not depend on the quality of whatever is sent but on the sheer number. When you send a million begging letters a small percentage will yield a response.
You only have to look at the amount of junk selling programmes on Sky TV late at night to realise there are many people sitting up all night with money to spend addictively. Lonely people, sick people and compulsivity challenged people. You only have to hit a few of these to make a few bucks...probably enough to have a decent living...especially as the cost of marketing via scam email is so low.

If the grammar, the spelling or the layout or any phrase in an email, whoever it appears to come from, is suspect then bin it. It's most likely a student having a laugh.
Beware the 'girlfriend' scams they are run by gangs and a huge amount of abuse and suffering is inflicted by these scrotes.

As for the millions being offered by foreign deposed officials, their wives or anyone claiming to be working on their behalf...then more fool you if you fall for any of them. Just realise the awful contempt some nationalities have of Western society...they really believe we are all so gullible and greedy that we will fall for it enough to give away our bank details or even send a cheque for funds to be cleared and deposited to our accounts for which we may earn a large % of millions...get real!

Emerging scams are likely to get even worse. Just imagine if someone sent you an offensive image of a child...your child.. using a picture you uploaded to Facebook or elsewhere..imagine the potential blackmail.

There are people out there cooking up new scams at this very moment...but there are not that many and they could all be stopped. The trouble is that we have such awful double standards that prevent ISP's from ditching certain stuff. All child pornography could be eliminated...but you wouldn't be able to download any pornographic images at all of any subject...You can see the problem. There are tens of millions of pages of porn on the web and around 18.8 percent of all Web visits are to Porn sites ( from a USA survey) Most of the visits are done during office hours and over a quarter of US companies have sacked an employee for using internet porn during office hours.
Many scam emails lead to porn sites eventually and there is a huge revenue because very few are free. The fees are large and the spammers no doubt get a percentage for the traffic sent, but more than likely the porn site is the source of the spam. But the ISP's are raking in the money so you will not see much action taken by them.

PS according to Economywatch

The porn industry is a major component of the world economy, generating large scale revenue and employment. According to, over $3,000 is spent every second across the world on pornography. However, it is difficult to estimate the accurate statistics for the entire industry as a large part of the industry operates underground.

You will never stop the spam that keeps those wheels turning.

Fay Olinsky

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