RealNews

Virtual Detective Tracks Scammers

The hundreds of people identified only as John Does in six spam lawsuits filed last month by America Online, EarthLink, Microsoft, and Yahoo may have trouble remaining anonymous. While spammers and scammers often go to great lengths to disguise their identities, it’s getting easier to track them down. Computer and security experts are using software tools such as NSlookup, Whois, and Traceroute, available as local applications or through Web sites like SamSpade.org, to sift through E-mail header information. Spammers have figured out how to forge some parts of headers, but not the part that leads to the IP address from which an E-mail originated. One exception is when spammers hijack inadequately secured Internet servers to conceal the origin of their messages. Those tools require knowledge of how computers and networks operate, and they aren’t easy for nonexperts to use. Now some administrators, investigators, and law-enforcement personnel are having success using software from Visualware Inc. that automates most of the work. To search for an E-mail’s originator, the user pastes an E-mail header into Visualware’s eMailTrackerPro application, which then produces a report on available details such as the IP address. Full Story

OODA Analyst

OODA Analyst

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