Spam Well over 90

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2007-03-11 Print this article Print

Percent of all E-Mail"> That makes it harder to find information, but theres still a lot of public information out regarding recent names theyve gone by.

You have to use common scene with these companies that trade on pink sheets, she said. "The problem is, investors have a bit more of a challenge in doing their homework before they invest. One company is involved in developing software to combat spam, ironically enough."
Secure Computing estimates that 30 percent of all spam is stock spam at this point, and spam itself makes up "well over 90 percent of all e-mail," Aperovitch said in a conversation with eWEEK. That is up from over 70 percent a year ago.
"Weve known the SEC was looking at this for quite some time, actually," he told eWEEK. "The companies theyve actually temporarily suspended are some of the ones that have been involved in the most numbers of spams, going back to the June or May timeframe," he said. "Theyve been responsible for frauding of many people." Up to 1 percent of shares being traded are spam, if you look at those companies, Aperovitch said. "We have to suspect most are fraudulent." The clues to fraud are companies that are changing names several times over the months. They have no products, he said, and no revenues on books. "Theyre using same techniques that other types of spammers and phishers are using," Aperovitch said. Theyre using zombie machines and botnets, in other words. "Whats interesting about this is that if you look at detailed information about how these stocks have been traded, you see these compromised accounts theyre using are selling the stock from one account to another and artificially increasing the stock for it," Aperovitch said. The stock is being sold for $1.50, and that becomes the average price of stock, he added. The user, when looking at chart for stock, see increase in price, and theyre thinking, just like spam predicts, that the price is going up. "I better get in on the stock now," a consumer thinks, and of course theyre victims in the end. Secure Computing claims that botnets are increasing, with a 100 percent increase of new zombies. Due to the economic growth in China, Aperovitch said, with the shift from most zombies being in use to 20 percent located in China and growing daily, he said. Is there any hope? The situation in the United States is improving as ISPs are starting to be more vigilant about home machines, Secure Computing said. ISPs are shutting off ports, thankfully, Aperovitch said, specifically targeting port 25. Unfortunately, its a global problem at this point and because of that, botnet owners are migrating to countries not as hip to turning off port 25, he said. Hopefully, with time, those countries will realize theyre being harmed, their citizens are being harmed, and the policing will turn off zombies abroad, Aperovitch said. Check out eWEEK.coms Security Center for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at eWEEKs Security Watch blog.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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