Source: This article was Published forbes.com By Lee Mathews - Contributed by Member: James Gill

The Internet is a very leaky place. Security researchers find new servers spilling private data with alarming regularity. Some incidents have involved well-known, reputable companies. This one does not. It involves a server that helped cyber criminals run a massive SPAM campaign.

While investigating massive spam-producing malware network, security researchers at Vertek Corporation made an unexpected discovery. One of the servers linked to the malware hadn't been properly secured. Anyone who had the IP address of the server could connect at will and download a massive cache of email addresses.

Vertek tallied more than 44 million addresses in total. Of those, more than 43,500,000 were unique. The data was broken down into just over 2,200 files with each one containing more than 20,000 entries.

Bleeping Computer was provided with a list that broke down which email services were the most popular with the spammers. Yahoo addresses were the most common, at nearly 9 million. AOL was a close second at just over 8 million. Comcast addresses were the third most common at around 780,000.

The numbers fall sharply after that, with none breaking half a million. Many of the addresses that appear are provided by ISPs like AT&T, Charter, Cox, and SBC. Curiously enough, very few Gmail accounts were listed. Bleeping Computer thinks that may be because the database Vertek was able to access only contained part of the spam server's address book. It's also possible that these particular domains were chosen to target a specific type of user.

Vertek's researchers have shared their findings with Troy Hunt, who is analyzing the list against the already massive database he maintains at the breach notification service HaveIBeenPwned.

It wouldn't be at all surprising if Hunt discovers that all 43 million addresses were already exposed by other leaks or hacks. Why? Because at least two other leaks from spam-linked servers contained way, way more.

In August of last year, Hunt processed a whopping 711 million addresses from a compromised server. Many of those, he determined, had been dumped before. The biggest leak involving a SPAM service involved twice as many emails. MacKeeper's Chris Vickery discovered a mind-blowing 1.4 billion addresses exposed by a shady server.

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Categorized in Internet Privacy

Source: This article was published cio.economictimes.indiatimes.com - Contributed by Member: Bridget Miller

San Francisco, Google took action on nearly 90,000 user reports of spam in its Search in 2017 and has now asked more users to come forward and help the tech giant spot and squash spam.

According to Juan Felipe Rincon, Global Search Outreach Lead at Google, the automated Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based systems are constantly working to detect and block spam.

"Still, we always welcome hearing from you when something seems phishy. Reporting spam, malware, and other issues you find help us protect the site owner and other searchers from this abuse," Rincon said in a blog post.

"You can file a spam report, a phishing report or a malware report. You can also alert us to any issue with Google search by clicking on the 'Send feedback' link at the bottom of the search results page," he added.

Last year, Google sent over 45 million notifications to registered website owners, alerting them to possible problems with their websites which could affect their appearance in a search.

"Just as Gmail fights email spam and keeps it out of your inbox, our search spam fighting systems work to keep your search results clean," Rincon said.

In 2017, Google conducted over 250 webmaster meetups and office hours around the world reaching more than 220,000 website owners.

"Last year, we sent 6 million manual action messages to webmasters about practices we identified that were against our guidelines, along with information on how to resolve the issue," the Google executive said.

With AI-based systems, Google was able to detect and remove more than 80 percent of compromised sites from search results last year.

"We're also working closely with many providers of popular content management systems like WordPress and Joomla to help them fight spammers that abuse forums and comment sections," the blog post said.

Categorized in Search Engine

Mention spam and the first thought in your head might be of those unwanted emails promising easy money and get rich quick schemes that cram your inbox. But what you might not know is that another kind of spamming can have detrimental effects to your small business’s online presence too. That’s even if you never press the send button for an email titled “Make $1000 an hour just for filling out reports.”

Case in point is the recent failed suit against Google filed because websites belonging to online marketing firm e-ventures Worldwide were delisted by the search engine giant for search engine spamming.

What is Spamming?

In layman’s terms, spamming can be defined as the flooding of the Internet with unsolicited or misguiding messages. Mostly, spam is used for commercial advertising, often for get-rich-quick schemes or for selling dubious products. But not always.

In the end the term describes the aggressive means to promote the product rather than the product itself. So don’t make the mistake of believing that just because the product you are marketing is legitimate you couldn’t be guilty of spamming.

The most common form of spamming is email spamming, true. But the one likely to damage your business’s online presence the most is search engine spamming.

Search engine spamming is the deliberate and dishonest practice of modifying HTML pages to increase the chance of having them placed among the top search engine results.

Generally, most search engine spammers are aware that the content they are promoting is not relevant or useful to internet users. Or at least they are aware the means they are using to get it to the top of the search engine rankings is deceptive.

What Are the Common Search Engine Spamming Techniques?

Keyword Stuffing

This is the repeated use of a word to increase its frequency on a page. Older versions of indexing programs simply counted the number of times a keyword appeared on text and they would use that to determine the relevance level. However, things have changed as modern search engines have the ability to tell if a keyword is above its “normal” use.

Meta Tag Stuffing

This includes using keywords that are not related to the website content as well as repeating some more than once.

Mirror Websites

This is the hosting of multiple websites with different URL’s but the same or very similar content.

Hidden Links

This involves hiding links where visitors can’t see them so as to increase link popularity.

Page Redirects

This refers to the practice of taking the user to another page without their intervention using either CGI scripts, Java, JavaScript, META refresh tags or Server side redirects.

Gateway or Doorway Pages

These are low-quality web-pages that are stuffed with keywords and phrases but very little content. A doorway page will generally have “click here to enter” in the middle of the text.


This is the technique of sending a different version of  a webpage to the search engine from the one your visitors see.

Link Spamming

This type of spamming mostly takes advantage of Google’s PageRank algorithm. The algorithm gives a higher rank to a website that has more websites linking to it. So a spammer might create multiple websites with different URLs that link to one another.

Code Swapping

This involves optimizing a page for top ranking, then swapping another page in its place once a top ranking is achieved.

What Are the other Types of Spamming?

Email Spamming

This is the practice of sending unsolicited email messages to an indiscriminate set of recipients. It is among the earliest forms of online spamming and it is estimated that email spam currently makes up 80 to 85 percent of all emails in the world. While this vice is illegal in some jurisdictions, it is far less regulated in others.

Social Network Spamming

Social sites such as Twitter and Facebook are not immune to spam messages either. There have been numerous cases of account hacks and sending of false requests and links under the guise of the account holder’s details.

Mobile Phone Spamming

This form of spamming is directed at the text messaging service of a mobile phone and it is quite irritating and may in some markets cause the user to be charged for every text message received.

While spamming, especially search engine spamming, might make sense to some shrewd advertisers, it is important to note that the effects can be dire and at times even lead to jail time as in the case of “spam king” Stanford Wallace.

So for your sake and that of your business’ run away from temptations to market even legitimate products or your web presence by deceptive means. You may damage your online reputation irreparably — or worse.

Author : Antony Maina

Source : https://smallbiztrends.com/2017/02/what-is-spamming.html

Categorized in Internet Privacy

THERE’S ONE ADJECTIVE Facebook uses over and over to describe the kind of content it hopes to show you. Whether it’s about the stories that come up in your Newsfeed, or ads, or apps, there it is, front-and-center in a press releaseor nestled in an interview quote or headlined on a blog post. The word? “Relevant.”

Remember the irony of that the next time you wake up in the morning, open Facebook, and look at the handful of notifications that have, oh, somewhere between zero and negative one thousand things to do with you.

You’ve probably noticed recently that Facebook seems to have a real problem adhering to an appropriate notification volume, or defaulting to an acceptable definition of what exactly is important enough to warrant you be notified about it. Here’s what happens lately: You see you’ve got a notification and you get excited! Like Pavlov’s dog, Facebook has trained you to expect something interesting, something relevant to you specifically, when you click that little icon. But lately? It’s not an alert that someone has commented on your (admittedly stunning) new profile photo. No, it’s an alert about a post from a literal stranger with whom you’ve shared nothing but the decision to click “Join Group” in 2011. Other times, it’s a reminder that a four-year acquaintance is interested in attending an event “near you” sometime this week. Your excitement quickly becomes disappointment. There is no treat for Pavlov’s dog anymore, only reminders of distant acquaintances birthdays.

Over the last year and a half, Facebook has paid increasing attention to the notifications feature of its platform. It started in 2015 with the (now abandoned) decision to turn the notifications tab into a sort of all-in-one information hub. Around the same time, Facebook released its short-lived Notify app, which was shut down in June of this year, just seven months after it launched. But while the app itself was dissolved, Facebook made a point to mention that it had “learned a lot about how to make notifications as timely and relevant as possible” with Notify, and that it would be incorporating the functionality into other Facebook products. (Facebook did not respond to a request for comment by publication time.)

The result of all this seems to be that instead of getting a few notifications about your friends and family, you are now by default opted in to receiving many notifications from random people who are, at best, tangentially related to you.

If you think this is starting to sound a lot like spam, well, you’re not wrong. The good news is, you can turn these notifications off. The annoying thing is that they aren’t off by default for things like Facebook Groups already. But if you have five or ten minutes, here’s how to fix your notifications in Facebook’s settings.

How To Change Notifications for Facebook Groups

Click on the little downward-facing arrow on the top toolbar of your Facebook page, where you’ll see settings. Click it, and then click notifications in the left column.

On this page, Facebook lets you change the notification settings by device. So choose accordingly, depending on whether you want your notifications changed on mobile, desktop, or both.




Under the “What You Get Notified About” section, you’ll see Group Activity. Click edit.


A pop-up dialogue will appear with all the groups you’re a part of. Change the notification settings to either All Posts, Friends’ Posts, Highlights, or Off.

While most of the options are self explanatory, Highlights is not, and that’s likely the source of your problems, since it is selected by default in many cases. According to Facebook, choosing Highlights will notify you for “suggested posts” and posts by your friends—“suggested” of course being the semantic word-ball that got us into this mess.

Once you’ve chosen your notification preferences, click the X to exit. Your changes should automatically be saved.

And that’s it! Hopefully this will have solved much of your notification woes. Of course, you saw that Groups notifications aren’t the only thing you can change. If you’re annoyed by things like birthday and event reminders, or live video notifications, you can change those there, too.

Happy Interneting!

Source : http://www.wired.com/2016/08/change-spammy-group-notifications-facebook/ 

Categorized in Social


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