February 14, 2011

ImageShack Cracking Down On Tricky Junk Mail

Spammers are being foiled by finding their junk messages unexpectedly contain warnings urging recipients to delete the email.

ImageShack has begin issuing the alerts in an effort to stop spammers using its services.

According to a BBC News report, the company is replacing pictures, known to have appeared in spam, with warnings like "Do not buy."

Spammers often use image-hosting sites so they can include fake logos, intended to make mail look more legitimate.

Alexander Levin, president of ImageShack, told BBC News that the goal is to raise users' awareness of the problem and to make life difficult for those spending the spam.

"The net effect is that the spammers lose customers and see a decrease in revenue."

ImageShack's system is capable of swapping thousands of the spammers' images for warnings within an hour of them being reported.

He said the company works with anti-spam groups to identify any files that have been uploaded to its servers and are being used in junk emails.

It then scours its web logs to uncover other images that have been uploaded from the same address.

This allows it to identify images "not previously reported to the anti-spam communities", Levin told BBC.

Paul Wood, senior analyst at security firm Symantec.cloud, welcomed the move.

However, he warned that if image-hosting sites are serious about tackling spam, they should consider their registration processes.

"Users often don't need to register to use these sites - making them highly disposable and open to abuse," he told BBC.

Security firm McAfee said the global volume of spam is at its lowest level since 2006.

That follows one of the largest groups of spammers deciding to cease its activities last August.

McAfee reported that spam accounts for about 80 percent of all email traffic.


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