AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile agree not to charge for spam texts

AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile all vowed to stop billing their customers for spam text messages that come from third parties, according to Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell, who worked on the initiative with attorneys general from 44 other states.

The carriers will no longer charge for what's known as commercial "premium short messaging service," or PSMS, which is the main culprit for the unauthorized charges that appear on mobile phone bills in a practice that's often referred to as "mobile cramming." It's estimated to cost Americans $2 billion a year.

"… Read more

Twitter killed off spam accounts in run-up to IPO

In the months preceding its IPO filing, Twitter worked hard to purge fake and spam accounts, long a thorn in the company's side and an impediment to its ability to attract advertisers.

Given that it's so easy to register for Twitter, and that there are few restrictions on sign-ups, there has been little to stop spammers from creating large numbers of accounts. And the company has few illusions that the problem isn't significant.

In its IPO filing Thursday, Twitter identified spam as one of the significant risks that could affect the company's business. "Spam could … Read more

Duh: 30 percent of Americans knowingly open spam

"I know I shouldn't, but I will."

Such a thought has, over many centuries, been the precursor to explosions, amputations, marriages, and most of my previous relationships.

Thankfully, it is an impulse that seems to be shared by so many Americans that tears may shortly come to your eyes in sheer relief.

For I am in possession of research suggesting that many Americans just can't help opening spam e-mails, even though they know they're spam.

In this research, nearly one-third of respondents admitted that, at some time or other, they had opened an e-mail that … Read more

The 404 1,324: Where we get a case of the McMondays (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- CNET update: Disney Infinity goes mobile with apps, featuring Justin Yu!

- Pictures of fast food, captured using a flatbed scanner. It's a lot like Scanwiches, but way more gross.

- McDonalds expands McLobster to Canada.

- Researcher posts Facebook bug report to Mark Zuckerberg's wall.

- Get a monthly mystery care package for nerds.

- 404 listener Mark e-mailed us to show off these floppy disk transport sleeves at his local dollar store!

- Will from Atlanta sent us a picture of his Jim Lee Batman and Superman tattoos! Roscoe also send one over of his name written in Aurebesh, a theatrical language created for Star Wars.… Read more

Report unwanted messages sent from iMessage

Spam is nothing new. But if you are getting spam when using Apple's iMessage service, you can help tackle the problem. Apple has implimented means for you to report iMessage spam. To do this, you will simply need to take a screenshot of the spam message, and send the image to Apple in an email.

The steps for doing so are relatively simply, and only require you to take the screenshot on your Mac or your iOS device and then include the shot in an email attachment. Apple has outlined this process in a recent knowledgebase article.

With the … Read more

Review: Create and manage Web accounts without compromise using MaskMe

On Monday, Abine announced a new privacy add-on called MaskMe. MaskMe promises to protect your personal information by creating custom aliases that "mask" your log-in information.

"In today's world of big data and NSA surveillance, consumers are realizing that any personal information they give away can be exploited," said Bill Kerrigan, Abine CEO. "The real lesson is to stop giving out your personal data in the first place. That used to be difficult for consumers, who didn't have a choice if they wanted to use online services."

The full service includes masking … Read more

Twitter triumphs in spam lawsuit settlement

Twitter has won a battle in its war against spam.

The microblogging service settled a lawsuit on Tuesday with marketing software company TweetAdder, in which the agreement was clearly in favor of Twitter. The terms of the settlement were filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

Under the terms of the settlement, the owners and employees of TweetAdder agree not to take part in "creating, developing, manufacturing, adapting, modifying, making available, trafficking in, using, disclosing, selling, licensing, distributing (with or without monetary charge), updating, providing costumer support for, or offering for use, sale, license, or distribution (with … Read more

How to report spam e-mail sent to your iCloud account

Fighting spam is a constant cat-and-mouse game and one every e-mail provider faces. I receive my fair share of spam e-mail on my iCloud e-mail account, and for the longest time have just deleted them without opening, figuring it would eventually stop.

Then last week while on Twitter, I saw the following Tweet:

Pro tip:1. Select spam message2. Message => Forward As Attachment3. Send to spam@me.com4. Do a dance

— Jake Behrens (@Behrens) April 19, 2013

I had no idea this method even existed. Unfortunately, forwarding an e-mail as an attachment isn't possible on an iOS device. … Read more

Targeted cyberattacks jump 42 percent in 2012, Symantec says

Internet users are seeing less spam but more targeted attacks, according to security software company Symantec.

Looking at last year's security landscape, Symantec's Internet Security Threat Report 2013 found that traditional spam accounted for 69 percent of all e-mail in 2012, down from 75 percent in 2011. Yet, 30 billion spam messages are still sent on a daily basis.

Junk e-mails that hawk sex or dating products and services now account for 55 percent of all spam, taking the top spot away from pharmaceutical spam.

Malware is also part of one out of every 291 e-mail messages, with … Read more

Feds crack down on mobile-phone spammers

The U.S Federal Trade Commission said today that it is cracking down on marketers that are allegedly bombarding consumers with hundreds of millions of unwanted spam messages on their cell phones in the hopes they will give away personal information on bogus Web sites.

The 29 defendants listed in the complaint sent 180 million unwanted text messages to consumers promising them free gift cards worth as much as $1,000 to retailers like Best Buy, Target, and Walmart, the FTC said in a press release.

Consumers who clicked on the links in the messages found themselves caught in a … Read more