Risk
6/28/2007
03:31 PM
50%
50%

Opening Up A Can Of Spam, I Mean Worms

When I wrote my story yesterday about a self-proclaimed anti-spam activist's feud with a company he accused of being a "spammer", I knew I was touching on a sensitive issue, but I didn't realize just how sensitive until today. Both sides took exception to the wording of passages in my story, particularly those that used the "s" word, and I'm sure that neither side will be looking to shake hands and laugh abou

When I wrote my story yesterday about a self-proclaimed anti-spam activist's feud with a company he accused of being a "spammer", I knew I was touching on a sensitive issue, but I didn't realize just how sensitive until today. Both sides took exception to the wording of passages in my story, particularly those that used the "s" word, and I'm sure that neither side will be looking to shake hands and laugh about this anytime soon.You don't need me to tell you that spam is a very big problem for IT departments and their users. Spam hogs bandwidth, transmits malware, and eats away at productivity. But it's arguably just as big a problem for a company to be accused of sending spam. As Oklahoma ISP Mark Mumma found, calling a company a "spammer" is a serious accusation with serious consequences. Mumma initially threatened to identify Omega Word Travel, a provider of online booking tools and flight tracking information, as a "spammer" on his various anti-spam Web sites, but instead, the courts say he defamed Omega, and he's now been ordered to pay that company $330,000 in damages.

There's a lot of he said/he said going back and forth between Mumma and Omega's legal team. Omega pointed out to me that they've spent a lot of money to successfully defend themselves against being labeled a "spammer" (something the courts agree that they're not). Mumma, meanwhile, isn't convinced, calling the header in Omega's marketing e-mails deceptive and claiming he never signed up to receive their e-mails.

The issues of unsolicited e-mails (or "spam"), e-mail lists, e-mail headers, compensation, defamation, and reputation all play a role in this case. Both sides agree that Omega is a legitimate business. Their primary disagreement is on the difference between marketing and spamming. The court has decided in this case -- in favor of Omega. But the line between the two can be vague.

I'm most curious at this point to know how much of a problem you perceive spam to be. How do you define spam, and is the problem growing? Be sure to weigh in with your thoughts.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-4632
Published: 2015-01-31
VMware vSphere Data Protection (VDP) 5.1, 5.5 before 5.5.9, and 5.8 before 5.8.1 does not properly verify X.509 certificates from vCenter Server SSL servers, which allows man-in-the-middle attackers to spoof servers, and bypass intended backup and restore access restrictions, via a crafted certifica...

CVE-2014-7287
Published: 2015-01-31
The key-management component in Symantec PGP Universal Server and Encryption Management Server before 3.3.2 MP7 allows remote attackers to trigger unintended content in outbound e-mail messages via a crafted key UID value in an inbound e-mail message, as demonstrated by the outbound Subject header.

CVE-2014-7288
Published: 2015-01-31
Symantec PGP Universal Server and Encryption Management Server before 3.3.2 MP7 allow remote authenticated administrators to execute arbitrary shell commands via a crafted command line in a database-backup restore action.

CVE-2014-8266
Published: 2015-01-31
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in the note-creation page in QPR Portal 2014.1.1 and earlier allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the (1) title or (2) body field.

CVE-2014-8267
Published: 2015-01-31
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in QPR Portal 2014.1.1 and earlier allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the RID parameter.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
If you’re a security professional, you’ve probably been asked many questions about the December attack on Sony. On Jan. 21 at 1pm eastern, you can join a special, one-hour Dark Reading Radio discussion devoted to the Sony hack and the issues that may arise from it.