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Project Honey Pot files $1B+ Lawsuit Against Spammers and Spambots
spam harvesters about to be harvested in court
incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3323522 posted 8:38 am on Apr 27, 2007 (gmt 0)

This is probably one of the most exciting developments in spider identification and bot blocking to come along in years as the bot blockers and anti-spammers have just fired a major warning shot that we're mad as hell and not going to take it any more.

[projecthoneypot.org...]

On Thursday, April 26, 2007 at 10:54am in a court in the Eastern District of Virginia, Project Honey Pot filed the largest anti-spam lawsuit ever. Seeking more than $1B in statutory damages, the suit was brought on behalf of our members. It targets a huge swath of spammers. If you've harvested email addresses or sent spam in the last two years, chances are you're on our radar screen and we're coming after you.

I spent a few minutes researching their email harvester list and found that my bot blocker trapped all but a couple of these jokers, so I'll assume the ones I didn't catch never hit my site.

[projecthoneypot.org...]

This just made my day as I was seeing some particularly nasty crawls today and maybe there is an end in sight, technical or legal, just as long as the crap stops.

Cloaked Bots Report for: 20070426
136 blocked stealth crawlers requested 5050 pages.
Blocked Agent Report for: 20070426
219 blocked crawlers requested 1989 pages.

Out of those numbers we had a few like this:

70.95.253.* [*.san.res.rr.com.] requested 1070 pages as "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1)"

82.201.132.* [unknown] requested 2389 pages as "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows NT 4.0)"

217.87.91.* [*.dip.t-dialin.net.] requested 332 pages as "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.0; Windows NT 4.0)"

70.132.7.* [*.dsl.snfc21.sbcglobal.net.] requested 325 pages as "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 5.1; sbcydsl 3.12; YComp 5.0.0.0)"

Pretty obnoxious abuse wouldn't you say?

Good Luck PROJECT HONEY POT and get 'em good!

 

amznVibe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3323522 posted 10:20 am on Apr 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

The requested award amount makes them sounds like a bad movie.
one BILLION dollars!
But I suppose their goal is not to actually accomplish anything
with that but to get attention from the press and other financial support.

They need to set more realistic goals.
Awards can be given but there is no enforcement on collection.

There needs to be CRIMINAL penalties for this behavior
and then it needs to be enforced. Once people start getting
arrested and appearing in their local/national newspapers
it will slow down.

But that said, how can I integrate their list into my server to block those IPs?

[edited by: amznVibe at 10:26 am (utc) on April 28, 2007]

adfree

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3323522 posted 11:36 am on Apr 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

The key would be international bans and enforcement plus globally coordinated technical counter measures driven by a strong and well funded consortium.

rj87uk

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3323522 posted 11:42 am on Apr 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

So can any website owner help by adding one of those "QuickLinks" my guess is it will just track bad bots but will it help get rid of anything?

trinorthlighting

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3323522 posted 12:25 pm on Apr 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well, the lawsuit will not do much. Too many of these guys are overseas out of reach of US law.

surfin2u

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3323522 posted 3:02 pm on Apr 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

I would be nice if they gave us webmasters some sort of safe and useful tool to keep out the bad guys without the possibility of blocking any good guys.

testing0

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3323522 posted 4:27 pm on Apr 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

They should send some of those spammer jerks to jail.

I am sure it gonna help a lot the Virtual world.

beakertrail

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3323522 posted 6:39 pm on Apr 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

It is possible to get an enforcement order in the country you wish to collect based on a US judgement.

For example, if Spammer X lives in South Korea and a court in West Virgina orders Spammer X to pay up $1m then there is no way anyone in the US can collect. So you go to a court in South Korea, present the judgement and order from the US court and request the local court to enforce it.

It is possible and not especially unusual.

trinorthlighting

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3323522 posted 11:27 pm on Apr 28, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think its kind of funny the title of the thread.

Lawsuits against bots? Ha....

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3323522 posted 5:49 am on Apr 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

Lawsuits against bots?

Everyone's a critic...

Would "Spam Harvesters" suit you better?

Turns out the harvesters aren't always the people doing the spamming, they sometimes just sell the lists.

oddsod

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3323522 posted 8:04 am on Apr 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

For example, if Spammer X lives in South Korea and a court in West Virgina orders Spammer X to pay up $1m then there is no way anyone in the US can collect. So you go to a court in South Korea, present the judgement and order from the US court and request the local court to enforce it.

US courts don't have the power to make other other sovereign states do their bidding. Courts in other countries don't just execute judgements made by US courts. In fact, some may get so annoyed at the arrogance they may make a judgement of their own completely counter to the US one. Even if you did find a country so spineless as to take orders from US courts - like the UK who have given up even "speciality" (the understanding that when people are extradited they are tried only for the crime/s on the extradition application and not just anything that later catches the prosecutor's fancy) - what makes you think spammers will conveniently flock to this little state so they can get caught?

The problem is a serious one. This gimmick is designed to get attention, it's a PR stunt. I hope that in some small way it at least helps towards the end goal.

trinorthlighting

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3323522 posted 11:41 am on Apr 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yea bill, it made me snicker a little.

Man, I do hate the spammers. I guess even if they end up shutting down one spammer its well worth it. These bots take up bandwidth.

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3323522 posted 4:40 pm on Apr 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

This gimmick is designed to get attention, it's a PR stunt. I hope that in some small way it at least helps towards the end goal.

Obviously it's designed to get attention, but I don't think it's just a stunt.

1. The lawyer used in the case has already successfully sued spammers for big clients like AOL and Verizon. Serious lawyers don't associate themselves with frivolous claims as it can destroy their reputation.

2. They filed in Virginia, a state with a strong anti-spam history, against all Virginia IPs involved in spam harvesting and spamming. A very specific and doable niche of spamland.

3. The lawsuit followed the same pattern used by the RIAA lawsuits by claiming all "JOHN DOES" as internet IPs, which will be followed by a motion to subpoena all the records to find out who is behind those IPs.

The only problem I'm concerned with is they may find nothing but a trail of botnets involved. Hopefully there will be experts involved that can tell the difference between someone with a compromised machine and an actual spammer as I certainly don't want to see some innocent personal accidentally crucified over malware.

[edited by: incrediBILL at 4:41 pm (utc) on April 29, 2007]

oddsod

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3323522 posted 4:58 pm on Apr 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

Serious lawyers don't associate themselves with frivolous claims as it can destroy their reputation.

Inability to execute a judgement tends not to reflect badly on the lawyer who won the case ;)

Dabrowski

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3323522 posted 12:27 pm on Apr 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

US courts don't have the power to make other other sovereign states do their bidding. Courts in other countries don't just execute judgements made by US courts

No, they have to get their President to threaten to go to war with them.

On a serious note though, if they've filed for 1bn, how is that divided up? Surely to come up with an actual figure they must have evidence that particular people are resposible for respective amounts.

Harvesting email address is not a crime, nor a bother. They would also have to prove that those email addresses had then been spammed, and some consequential loss was involved. For example, a user who had gone and bought some anti-malware/anti-spam software as a direct result should in theory be able to claim that back through the suit.

I agree with the earlier post, it's not a 'serious' claim, it's not enforcable, most of the guilty will be outside US jurisdiction. They'll probably win with their top lawyers, but get nothing.

It's a publicity stunt, maybe designed as a warning to spammers.

What we really need is, as mentioned earlier is an international law, that can then be enforced with criminal charges. Hopefully those countries outside the US still have the death penalty! ;)

Tigrou

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3323522 posted 3:50 pm on Apr 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

I wonder when they'll get countersued by someone who doesn't spam, but is put on their blacklists.

No longer can the average person send mass update mails to friends without a solid chance of being put on their list. To get around this myself, I've had to sign up to newsletter software just to tell people I'm alive and well.

Nice intent, poor implementation. Personally I'd rather run my own spam filter instead of these morons who rely on algos instead of humans.

[edited by: Tigrou at 3:52 pm (utc) on April 30, 2007]

LifeinAsia

WebmasterWorld Administrator lifeinasia us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3323522 posted 4:16 pm on Apr 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

No longer can the average person send mass update mails to friends without a solid chance of being put on their list.

The honey pots have specific e-mail addresses for the purpose of tracking bots. Those addresses are not your "friends" and are only used by mail bots/spammers.

Tapolyai

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3323522 posted 4:54 pm on Apr 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

If I read the project's documentation correctly, the number one area of target is within the US, within US jurisdiction.

superG2007

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3323522 posted 7:33 pm on Apr 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm all for stopping spamming but they have Google on their list has one of the biggest spammers 64.233.178.nnn

[edited by: superG2007 at 7:54 pm (utc) on April 30, 2007]

[edited by: volatilegx at 1:47 pm (utc) on May 1, 2007]
[edit reason] obfuscated ip address [/edit]

incrediBILL

WebmasterWorld Administrator incredibill us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3323522 posted 3:54 am on May 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

I agree with the earlier post, it's not a 'serious' claim, it's not enforcable, most of the guilty will be outside US jurisdiction. They'll probably win with their top lawyers, but get nothing.

Even if they win and can't collect the money, they'll probably get some of those nasty injunctions that shut down the spammers operation.

Besides, if they do all the work and dig up the owners of the IP addresses in a civil case, if there are any possible associated criminal charges the work will have already been done for the government making their job easier if they decide to make a move on the case.

[edited by: volatilegx at 2:04 pm (utc) on May 1, 2007]

Dabrowski

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3323522 posted 8:52 am on May 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

get lured back to the US under some false pretense only to be arrested once he arrived?

Can't do that now - it's called "entrapment".

about a US lawsuit filed in VIRGINIA against VIRGINIA IPs...

You only stated one half of this in your original post, in which case.....

Even if they win and can't collect the money, they'll probably get some of those nasty injunctions that shut down the spammers operation

Then this is probably most likely, but until there are international laws against it, they'll just move base and start up again.

simey

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3323522 posted 9:36 am on May 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Can't do that now - it's called "entrapment

AFAIK, entrapment is enticing someone to commit a crime they would not otherwise have commited.

Once they have a warrant out, lure away.

crates

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3323522 posted 10:24 am on May 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Silly websites, lawsuits are for people within the law's reach.

The real solution is to develop better protocols for data interchange. Anyone got Vint Cerf's number handy?

volatilegx

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3323522 posted 2:06 pm on May 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Can we please keep this thread on topic, folks?

Project Honey Pot files $1B+ Lawsuit Against Spammers and Spambots
spam harvesters about to be harvested in court

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