When spam eludes software, bring in the detectives

Discussion in 'ten-forward' started by NeonWizard, May 31, 2004.

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  1. NeonWizard

    NeonWizard Registered Member

    Jan 17, 2004
    Sterling McBride spends a lot of time waiting for spammers to make a mistake. They usually do.

    When he hunted down escaped prisoners for the United States Marshals Service, McBride learned the value of lying low until fugitives trip up, leaving small clues on their whereabouts. Now, as an investigator for Microsoft, McBride watches carefully for tidbits of data that link some of the 2 billion pieces of junk e-mail that Microsoft's Hotmail service receives each day with the people who send them.

    Once he finds an electronic key to the spammer's identity--a real name, address or phone number--McBride uses all the tools of a regular detective: trailing suspects, subpoenaing their bank records and looking for disgruntled former associates to become informers. But first he must lift the cloak of anonymity provided by the Internet.

    "The guys who do this are pretty tenacious," McBride said. "There are networks that are very well organized. But we have really started to figure out how they operate."

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