Acamdemic Paper Disects World Wide Spam Networks

A new academic paper on point by point spam networks has been published.  It is a very detailed step by step break down of how spam works.  Everything from marketing tactics to the payment networks is covered.  It is a an amzingly in depth look at the issue.

Abstract—Spam-based advertising is a business. While it

has engendered both widespread antipathy and a multi-billion

dollar anti-spam industry, it continues to exist because it fuels a

profitable enterprise. We lack, however, a solid understanding

of this enterprise’s full structure, and thus most anti-spam

interventions focus on only one facet of the overall spam value

chain (e.g., spam filtering, URL blacklisting, site takedown).

In this paper we present a holistic analysis that quantifies

the full set of resources employed to monetize spam email—

including naming, hosting, payment and fulfillment—using

extensive measurements of three months of diverse spam data,

broad crawling of naming and hosting infrastructures, and

over 100 purchases from spam-advertised sites. We relate these

resources to the organizations who administer them and then

use this data to characterize the relative prospects for defensive

interventions at each link in the spam value chain. In particular,

we provide the first strong evidence of payment bottlenecks in

the spam value chain; 95% of spam-advertised pharmaceutical,

replica and software products are monetized using merchant

services from just a handful of banks.




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