GoDaddy Takes Down 15,000 Spammy ‘Snake Oil’ Subdomains

You’ve seen the ads in your email or online: Celebrities supposedly hawking miracle weight-loss cures or galaxy brain supplements. They’re endemic to the web, as deeply ingrained as hashtags and puppies. But even though plenty of people fall for them, no one ever really does anything about it. Of all the security threats online, spam ranks pretty low on the priority list. Which is why it’s surprising, and welcome, that GoDaddy and security firm Palo Alto Networks’ Unit 42 have taken down 15,000 subdomains dedicated to selling those phony pharmaceuticals under false pretenses. The two-year investigation that led them there offers some useful insights into what makes these campaigns tick. Spamalot The details vary slightly from one spam scam to …

On the Trail of the Robocall King

PART ONE Those posts did offer a few clues: The calls came over VoIP and seemed to be a classic bait and switch. If you were on the line, you’d hear a recorded female voice saying that you’d received TripAdvisor credits that could be redeemed for a vacation. The “credits” might be for $999 or $2,000—the amounts differed—but you’d be instructed to press 1 to take advantage of the incredible offer and then be transferred to a live operator. Neither the credits nor the name Trip­Advisor would be mentioned again. Instead, the operator would pitch an unrelated offer: a cruise, a resort, an all-inclusive stay at a beachfront hotel. Drawing from angry postings and tips on the TripAdvisor forums, Garvin …

In the Face of Danger, Were Turning to Surveillance

When school began in Lockport, New York, this past fall, the halls were lined not just with posters and lockers, but cameras. Over the summer, a brand new $4 million facial recognition system was installed by the school district in the town’s eight schools from elementary to high school. The system scans the faces of students as they roam the halls, looking for faces that have been uploaded and flagged as dangerous. "Any way that we can improve safety and security in schools is always money well spent," David Lowry, president of the Lockport Education Association, told the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal. Two months before those students filed into their schools in Lockport, Taylor Swift performed a concert at the …