HackfixNews: Spammers crack through Windows

  • From: "Mike" <mikebike@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: hackfixnews@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, hackfix-virushelp@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 18 Oct 2002 11:46:11 -0700


Here is an interesting turn of events;

Spammers crack through Windows  ~ by Robert Lemos 
Special to ZDNet News October 18, 2002, 4:44 AM PT
 
Spammers have co-opted an administration feature in Microsoft's Windows
operating systems and are using it to bring up intrusive advertisements on
Internet-connected computers.
 
The feature, known as the messenger service, typically lets a network
administrator send warnings to users when, for example, a server is
scheduled to go down for maintenance. Now some advertisers are using it to
send bulk messages to anyone connected to the Internet with an accessible
address. 

"Spammers are blindly sending their advertisements by randomly picking a
series of Internet addresses," said Charmaine Gravning, product manager for
Windows at Microsoft. "On computers without a firewall, a little messenger
window pops up." 

The messenger feature, not to be confused with Microsoft's instant messaging
applications, can use many different protocols to send a single message,
according to Microsoft. The intrusive messages only appear on computers
running Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000 and XP and that are directly connected to
the Internet via a valid address; Windows systems behind a firewall or
attached to a router that links multiple computers to a single Internet
address will be unaffected. 

"The feature can be used to notify a user when a printer job fails," said
Lawrence Baldwin, president of myNetWatchman.com, a company that monitors
incidents on the Internet through a network of sensors set up by volunteers.
"It was never the intention to let someone halfway across the world send
messages that pop up on your screen." 

Free utilities that enable people to exchange messages with each other using
the messenger service have been available on the Internet for a while, but
one enterprising company has recently started selling such software. 

DirectAdvertiser.com, a U.S.-based firm registered in Romania, has created
an application that lets users send advertisements via the messenger channel
to anyone whose computer is set up to receive messenger-service notes. The
program costs $700 and has, in two months, already sold more than 200
copies, company founder Zoltan Kovacs said in an interview.  
++ There is more on the web site.
From; http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1105-962483.html
~~~~
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