A Weblog About Topics and Issues Discussed in the Book Spam Kings by Brian McWilliams

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June 30, 2005

Unsubscribe spoof hits publisher

Subscribers to an email newsletter from Reed Information's Broadcasting & Cable got a scare this morning.

A message arrived apparently from the company warning of a "serious security breach in its email publishing system. It is quite possible that if you remain subscribed to this list your personal information will be exposed to criminal use."

The message suggested recipients click a link, hosted at broadcastingcable.com, to unsubscribe.

Broadcasting & Cable publisher Chuck Bolkcom promptly sent out a message to the list, assuring customers that B&C "has not suffered any security breach and subscribers' personal information is not at any risk."

The notice was also posted on the B&C web site.

So maybe B&C didn't suffer a security breach. But somewhere along the line the security of the B&C mailing list was compromised.

The headers of the spoofed message reveal it originated from mta.email.reedbusiness.com, which has an IP address of That IP belongs to DoubleClick, which apparently handles outbound email for Reed Business and other companies via FloNetwork, an email marketing firm it acquired in 2001.

So, was B&C's Bolkcom suggesting that something fishy happened at DoubleClick's end?

Then again, maybe it was an inside job -- a disgruntled B&C employee? In any case, B&C says it "intends to pursue appropriate criminal charges and other legal remedies against the perpetrator of this malicious act."

Posted by brian at June 30, 2005 1:14 PM


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