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

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August 22, 2005

Spamware vendor in AOL's back yard

lightspeed marketing logoShould there be a law against selling software that aids and abets spammers?

Some of the most common programs for sending spam have their roots in Russia. For example, Send-Safe and Dark Mailer. But Light Speed Marketing Inc. (aka LightSpeed Marketing Corporation), a developer of popular spamware, is headquartered in Centreville, Virginia -- just 12 miles from AOL's headquarters in Dulles!

Light Speed's web site is currently sanitized of any incriminating information. But this archived copy of the site from 2000 gives you some idea what they were selling. The company started being more discrete after it was kicked off several Internet service providers and gained a listing in ROSKO, the Spamhaus.org Register of Known Spam Operations.

Today, information about the company's full line of spamware is available by email. Here's what Dave Patton, the president of Light Speed, has to say about some of the products:

Nexus mailer ($12,000):

- "Do you want to get rid of Spam Cop complainers and the like? Answer: You need Nexus!"

- MX Lock technology. "The technology locates registered mail servers that blocked or unblocked proxies alike can utilize to send your mail."


- "Message Noise" - "This noise will not be seen by the end user, it is only seen by the message filters. This is a very powerful feature and makes foot printing the message impossible."

- Remote Module - "The remote module can be password protected and minimized to the tray and the icon is set to look like something harmless. Therefore, someone looking at the machine will not be able to detect the remote."

- Features "WORD MORPHING." Automatically changes words like Viagra to Vi$agra or Mortgage to Mortg%age.


ProxyScanner ($2,000)

- "New ultra fast stealth scanning technology that is literally over 100 times as fast as any previous Lightspeed scanning product. This scanning technology is much less detectable also."

- HONEYPOT Spam Trap detection. "Normal Proxies do not add anything to the EMAIL headers before they deliver the email. Honeypots on the other hand add your IP address, your Resolved Name, or both to the EMAIL headers before they deliver the email. This is obviously a nightmare for the bulk mailer."


Cybershark - Advanced Superfast CGI based mailer ($10,000)

- "Sends email from 3rd party UNIX or LINUX based servers."
- "No trace of the mailer is ever left on the site."
- "This is truly a walk away mailer, start it off and go to the beach."


Address Miner Platinum ($3,000)

- "Now anyone can collect addresses anonymously"
- "Checks each domain to verify that addresses can be collected from the domain."
- "All Addresses collected are 100% Verified"


Those prices may look quite steep, but according to its PayPal record, Light Speed has over 190 Verified Buyers since 2000.

Light Speed's software purchase agreement mentions that the use of the above products may cause the spammer to lose his Internet account and receive "unwanted, vulgar replies" to his spams. But neither that document or the company's license agreement points out that using the products probably also constitutes a violation of state and federal laws in the USA.

Which brings us to our Kazaa-like question: should it be a crime to sell software that enables users to commit crimes?

UPDATE: I have just been informed that under the Virginia Computer Crimes Act, in effect since 1999, selling Nexus and similar header-forging and IP-cloaking spamware programs is illegal. The law says someone is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor if he or she sells software that is "primarily designed or produced for the purpose of facilitating or enabling the falsification of electronic mail transmission information or other routing information."

Posted by brian at August 22, 2005 3:39 PM


Why is it you try to make "spammers" look like the biggest scumbags on earth. Do you know there is drug cartels, rapists , racism, corruption within the United States Government, terrorism, yet you manage somehow to point the finger at these so called "spammers", you and these lawsuit abuses by big corporations such as Microsoft, America Online, Yahoo, Earthlink, etc. Who gives a flying crap right? Let's just sit here and abide by all of America's Corporate threshold and be like the rest of the sheep that work 9-5 jobs, shut down small little internet businesses because they send some e-mail that's unwanted, geez, have you ever thought once don't give out your e-mail address to anyone but family and friends, not posting it in wide open websites for it to get picked up by e-mail crawlers, have you ever thought of letting people marketing to your customers for unridiculous prices, maybe these "spammers" will stop selling pharmacy(which I don't agree with) and sending e-mails to unerage children containing pornography. I don't think any "spammer" thinks, "Hey, I want to send mass e-mails to children containing pornography" before they begin a campaign. It is this ridiculous republican right-wing and America's idiotic parents who don't know how to raise their children. Do you really think a e-mail containing something that is unwanted, is the root of all problems on the Internet? No, if you think about it the base of the problem is inaccurate depiction by blogs like this site and idiots who do not know how to delete an e-mail and corporate imebiciles, who take on "Hey let's sue every spammer in sight" to gain more customers for us to bombard with pop ups, sell their customer data and email them with garbage they don't want. Isn't that right, Mr. Time Warner, Mr.Steve Case, Mr.Bill Gates, Mr. Tim Koogle. Let us outsource all of our jobs to India because we really don't give a shit about hard working Americans. Let us also hire shit tech-support for our customers who work hard for their money. Let's hold our corporations in structured ways in Delaware and offshore companies to protect our assets in case our insider trading gets noticed by the SEC. Do you really think you're going to stop "spam" this way, what a bunch of misinformed Yale educated twerps. :)

Posted by: Koala Bear at August 22, 2005 8:44 PM

Spam=Crime, i don't think so..spam & co are only an internet annoyance..for many people very annoying.
If you consider spam a crime and conseguently the software programs that helps the spammers..how do you consider weapons maker that enables people to commit REAL crimes? :)

Posted by: forcefields at August 23, 2005 2:47 AM

forcefields, your comment completely ignores the point of the post. "Weapons makers" may enable people to commit crime, but their product is also able to be used for legitimate purposes (like hunting). The spamming software Brian talks about the post does not have similar dual-use applications. Even more importantly, gun manufacturers and others who make deadly weapons do not induce their customers to commit crimes by advertising how their products have anti-detection capabilities that would be useful when committing a crime.

Posted by: Martey at August 23, 2005 4:06 AM

***/Why is it you try to make "spammers" look like the biggest scumbags on earth/***

Because they ARE. No one else can legally get away with harassing me and the users on my mail server without the law coming down on them.

***/Who gives a flying crap right?/***

Me. My Customers. 'Nuff said.

***/...shut down small little internet businesses because they send some e-mail that's unwanted/***

...or small businesses like mine that lose customers because they think email is nothing but ads? Please.

***/have you ever thought once don't give out your e-mail address to anyone but family and friends, not posting it in wide open websites for it to get picked up by e-mail crawlers/***

Yes. You can't do that when you're an official public contact for an organization. You have to be accessable, and spammers know that.

***/blogs like this site and idiots who do not know how to delete an e-mail.../***

Dealing with spam takes about 20% of my time which could be better used making my services better.

***/and email them with garbage they don't want. Isn't that right, Mr. Time Warner, Mr.Steve Case, Mr.Bill Gates, Mr. Tim Koogle/***

Don't forget all those "little guys" who do EXACTLY the same thing after they harvest the information. See ROKSO.

***/Do you really think you're going to stop "spam" this way, what a bunch of misinformed Yale educated twerps. :)/***

No, but hunting them down and killing them is still illegal. I am forced to take other options, like blacklisting most of Asia, running filters, etc, because most of the spammers out there make it EXTREMELY difficult to locate them let alone contact them to REALLY get off their lists.

Face it. Spam *IS* a problem. It costs the recipient much more time and resources.than it does the sender. Spam *should* legally come under the junk fax laws rather than junk snail mail laws.

Posted by: Anti at August 24, 2005 3:05 AM

Make sure you protect your precious dongles in jail, Dave.

Posted by: Joe Spammer at August 24, 2005 6:42 PM


Posted by: many at August 25, 2005 3:00 PM

Amen. Anyone who stands up for spammers is either affiliated with them in some way, or just ignorant.

Posted by: Nemesis6 at August 25, 2005 5:41 PM

Sending email is NOT against the LAW. IF you are 100% CAN SPAM cpmpliant, then you have the RIGHT, BY LAW TO SEND EMAIL! PERIOD... Some companies that infringe upon the RIGHTS of Marketers such as SPAMHAUS are going to get their asses sued off. I know of one such lawsuit that is in the works now against the internet Terrorists known as Spamhaus.

If you are compliant, I dont mind getting junk email. It was with a Junk email that I refinanced my home, got my new Sony Vaio Laptop, and just got cheaper plane tickets for a business trip that I have to take. What pisses me off, is that when I get an email, and I want to OPT OUT, I get a dead page! What the hell us up with that? I will tell you, its Spamhaus that has gotten their removal site shut down. Thats what pisses me off!!! I buy things from junk email and then sell them on ebay, and make some money. It's these dirt bags that are using proxys through infected zombie machines that do phishing schemes to get my paypal information or credit info that should ROT IN HELL!!!
Leave the legit marketers alone, and go after that proxy mailing, piece of shit and put them in jail. They are the ones that are running the porn ads, the credit card schemes that should be SHOT! What these ANTI Spammers need to learn is that there are legit publishers, and then there are spammers! Legit publishers = GOOD. Spammers = BAD!
I don't care if I sign up for something, and my email get passed on to other affiliates. As long as they are legit, I dont mind. As long as I can OPT OUT I dont mind. Lets put an end to these terrorist companies like Spamhaus! At the same time, lets also put an end to proxy mailing, porn peddling spammer as well! Get it? I want to make the choice and NOT have it made for me by people like YOU!

Posted by: Dave Kimball at August 29, 2005 6:08 PM

Dave Kimball, have you considered that the opt out you're so eager to click on might have lead you to a page that was never there in the first place? Second possibility is that you have just confirmed that your email is valid, and will thus forth recieve more more spam. And that, perhaps, it isn't Spamhaus' fault?

You don't mind your email being passed around to "other affiliates". That's your perogative, but who controls these affiliates and their methods? Affiliate spamming, affiliates hijacking browsers and loading spyware unto them, etc. This is not some rare phenonemon. It's most widely known as "rogue affiliates", and the only chance of them being busted is through complaints from the users whose computer they've just effectively crippled with loads of spyware.

You're right that there are legit businesses, but there are many more that are not. And you know, spammers like to riddle their sites with images that that trick the user into believing they're "CAN-SPAM compliant"

You can have your choice and subscribe to what you want. Here's a good rule of thumb for you: If you're sure you didn't sign up for something you recieved in the mail, don't trust them. These are the kinds of people that organizations like Spamhaus go after. And they ARE going after the people who you want to rot in hell.

By the way, claiming that Spamhaus are terrorists is just ignorant and stupid.

Posted by: Nemesis6 at August 29, 2005 7:14 PM

Nemesis6, have you considered the possibility that you have bought into a bunch of media bullshit? I don't understand what you mean by tricking people into thinking the email is CAN-SPAM compliant, it's black and white, not a grey issue. Legitimate companies honor opt-out request, however, you ARE correct, if they are getting shut down they were not legitimate in the first place. Spyware is also a bad thing, and those companies should be shut down.

I also agree with Kimball that the real problem is the proxy spammers. Given the issue at hand, we also know that Nexus is a piece of proxy mailing software (Designed primarily for that purpose). As such, Dave Patton ought to be thrown in jail. Spamhaus, though, is poorly run, given the fact that many legitimate advertisers like AzoogleAds are listed and can't get removed. I also disagree with Steve Linford’s tactics of posting information about spammers - what good can that possibly do? Turn the information over to law enforcement and let them decide if a crime has been committed. No respectable companies rely of Spamhaus for accurate data anyways.

Posted by: Neal McLaren at August 30, 2005 1:27 AM

Well, "Neal", I think I made myself quite clear; Various spam domains I see are riddled with claims that they are compliant with various government laws on spam and the likes, including the CAN-SPAM act. And what are you talking about with "media bullshit" ? I assume by this that you mean that the opt-out feature is never used like that, in which case, I think you're quite ignorant on the subject of spam.

Posted by: Nemesis6 at August 30, 2005 11:00 AM

This McWilliams guy is a moron. To me he seems like the typical anti spammer.. Fat, single, unattractive, antisocial, and unemployed.. All he does is bitch about spammers.. BOOHOO nobody cares asshole, shut up and get a job..

Posted by: dave at September 7, 2005 9:25 PM

quit crying you stupid overweight antis

Posted by: Dave at September 13, 2005 11:52 AM

Koala Bear - get a real job.

It is my inbox and my rules.

The Rules of Spam:

1. Spam is theft.
2. Spammers lie.
3. If a spammer seems to be telling the trugh, see #1.
4. Spammers are stupid.
5. The natural cource of a spamming business is to go bankrupt.

Posted by: Spaminator at November 13, 2005 3:38 PM


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