RealNews

Spammers Hiding Behind Students

“Paying students to spam is a relatively new phenomenon, so we don’t know the extent of the problem,” says Steve Worona, director of policy and network programs for EduCause, a group that promotes the use of IT in higher education. University networks already stressed by file-sharing programs, viruses and hackers now face a new threat: students who sublet their network access to spammers for as little as $20 per month. Tufts University, a 151-year-old school in Medford, Mass., last month discovered spammers were paying students to offer up their PCs as relay points that helped mask the true source of the spam. While university network executives interviewed were not aware of other cases on U.S. campuses, the phenomenon has cropped up in Israel. The problem came to light at Tufts after the school received a flood of complaints that its domain was the source of spam, says Lesley Tolman, director of networks and telecommunications at Tufts. The practice isn’t so much a bandwidth hog as it is an image problem for universities, she says. Full Story

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