Microsoft sues alleged spammer for gaming Hotmail's spam filter

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Jun 19, 2010

Messages marked as 'not spam' from phony web mail accounts.

Connecticut spammer Boris Mizhen and several companies controlled by him have been sued by Microsoft for sending unwanted email to its customers and for gaming spam filters.

Mizhen has a long history as a spammer. For years he was listed in Spamhaus's ROKSO list and he was sued by Microsoft for sending spam to its web-based Hotmail service in 2003. That lawsuit ended in a settlement with Mizhen agreeing to pay Microsoft $2 million and to refrain from sending spam to Hotmail users.

In a new email campaign, however, Mizhen's companies once again targeted Hotmail users. An associate of Mizhen's claimed these messages weren't spam, explaining that many users had moved the messages from their junk folders to their inboxes. However, these user accounts are believed to have been specially created by Mizhen for this purpose.

Many spam filters base their filtering partially on user feedback. Using techniques such as Bayesian filtering, blacklisting and whitelisting, they attempt to learn from end users marking messages as 'spam' and 'not spam'. This case shows that such techniques can be abused by spammers - and developers of spam filters that use these techniques would be wise to keep this in mind when developing their products.

More details are at Online Media Daily here.

Posted on 18 June 2010 by Virus Bulletin



Latest posts:

VB2018 paper: Lazarus Group: a mahjong game played with different sets of tiles

The Lazarus Group, generally linked to the North Korean government, is one of the most notorious threat groups seen in recent years. At VB2018 ESET researchers Peter Kálnai and Michal Poslušný presented a paper looking at the group's various…

Book your VB2019 ticket now for a chance to win a ticket for BSides London

Virus Bulletin is proud to sponsor this year's BSides London conference, which will take place next week, and we have a number of tickets to give away.

First 11 partners of VB2019 announced

We are excited to announce the first 11 companies to partner with VB2019, whose support will help ensure a great event.

VB2018 paper: Fake News, Inc.

A former reporter by profession, Andrew Brandt's curiosity was piqued when he came across what appeared at first glance to be the website of a small-town newspaper based in Illinois, but under scrutiny, things didn’t add up. At VB2018 he presented a…

Paper: Alternative communication channel over NTP

In a new paper published today, independent researcher Nikolaos Tsapakis writes about the possibilities of malware using NTP as a covert communication channel and how to stop this.

We have placed cookies on your device in order to improve the functionality of this site, as outlined in our cookies policy. However, you may delete and block all cookies from this site and your use of the site will be unaffected. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to Virus Bulletin's use of data as outlined in our privacy policy.