As i’ve posted previously, i generally create a unique email address for any company that requests an email address from me… This is so that i can keep track of who has sold or leaked my email address to third parties or spammers.
First up we have “myfcri.co.uk”, this was a site which promised you a free credit report if you signed up… It seems as if this company has gone under and had their domain bought up by someone else, as the site now redirects to freescoreusa.com. I have received a large amount of spam to this address.
Secondly we have “globe7.com”, now these guys were a problem right from the start (see my other post at http://www.ev4.org/wordpress/2011/12/05/do-not-do-business-with-globe7/ for more information… These guys are seemingly still in business, and yet today i received spams inviting me to join a casino to this address.
I have receive a couple of emails and one post to this site from someone at Acunetix on this matter.
Although he denies that the company or it’s employees send spam or sell email addresses to spammers, the question still remains as to how the email address uniquely used on their site received spam.
It certainly wasn’t as the result of a brute force scan for guessable email addresses, as my mail server responds the same to both valid and invalid addresses, and there were no server logs indicating attempts to send spams to other common names.
It is unlikely that acunetix monitor the actions of their staff 24/7, so there is still a chance a rogue employee sold/leaked email addresses without the company as a whole knowing, similarly there is always the chance of one or more of their servers, or those of their isp being compromised.
So, i ask other people who have signed up to acunetix.com some time ago if they have started receiving spam on the address they used.
Many people use unique email addresses for such signups, but often put the company name in the address (as I often do too), however an unscrupulous company would likely filter these. Indeed, i have never received spam through a company where i put their sitename in the signup address.
A few days ago i posted about how a unique email address i created for signing up to acunetix.com started to receive a large volume of spam. As i wrote that article, i also mailed the company to complain, also cc:ing their upstream provider.
I looked through the original mail from Acunetix, and it came from the IP address: 18.104.22.168, which appears to be a cable provider in Malta. I then looked through my web logs, and low and behold:
22.214.171.124 – - [27/Jul/2007:11:16:27 +0100] “GET /wordpress/2007/07/27/acunetixcom-sells-your-mail-address-to-spammers/ HTTP/1.1″ 200 2605 “-” “Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.0; en-US; rv:126.96.36.199) Gecko/20070713 Firefox/188.8.131.52″
184.108.40.206 – - [27/Jul/2007:15:13:51 +0100] “GET /wordpress/2007/07/27/acunetixcom-sells-your-mail-address-to-spammers/ HTTP/1.1″ 200 2605 “-” “Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-GB; rv:220.127.116.11) Gecko/20070713 Firefox/18.104.22.168″
22.214.171.124 – - [27/Jul/2007:15:16:00 +0100] “GET /wordpress/2007/07/27/acunetixcom-sells-your-mail-address-to-spammers/ HTTP/1.1″ 200 2605 “-” “Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-GB; rv:126.96.36.199) Gecko/20070713 Firefox/188.8.131.52″
184.108.40.206 – - [27/Jul/2007:15:42:51 +0100] “GET /wordpress/2007/07/27/acunetixcom-sells-your-mail-address-to-spammers/ HTTP/1.1″ 200 2605 “-” “Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.0; en-US; rv:220.127.116.11) Gecko/20070713 Firefox/18.104.22.168″
22.214.171.124 – - [27/Jul/2007:15:43:00 +0100] “GET /wordpress/2007/07/ HTTP/1.1″ 200 7811 “http://www.ev4.org/wordpress/2007/07/27/acunetixcom-sells-your-mail-address-to-spammers/” “Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.0; en-US; rv:126.96.36.199) Gecko/20070713 Firefox/188.8.131.52″
So interesting… They have viewed my site using several different computers, my guess is several employees of the company. However, they have not replied to my mail… They haven’t yet tried to deny selling their customers’ email addresses. It does look very much like they’re trying to lay low having been caught out.
A few months ago i signed up to download a piece of software from www.acunetix.com. Aparrently they provide software for testing the security of web sites. Of course i created a unique address for the sole purpose of this signup.
I got the software, had a play with it, and received a couple of followup marketting mails from acunetix, then heard nothing for several months. All fine so far i thought.
Until recently, when I started receiving spams to this address which was uniquely created for acunetix. I got the typical spams, fake rolex watches, cheap software (probably pirated), and various types of medications.
And these were only the spams that reached the second stage of my spam filter, spam which goes over a certain score or comes from a blacklisted address doesn’t even reach this stage, which provides an interface for me to weed out false positives.
I have received a total of 431 spams to this address within the past week.
To combat the problem of websites that need an email address for signup and all the junk mail they send, I came up with an approach designed to let me minimise that problem.
Basically, i create a new email domain and account for each site i sign up for, for instance if i were to sign up to my own site i would create an address like:
This address is unique to the site in question, so that if they continue to send me unwanted emails i can simply remove the account and the mails are gone.
Doing this however, resulting in me making an interesting discovery, not only did a lot of companies send me large amounts of marketting material on a regular basis, but some actually sold or leaked my details to spammers!
Yes that’s right, single use email accounts which were only ever used to sign up to a single website were now receiving bucket loads of the typical viagra, penis enlargement, fake rolex and all the other garbage spams that float around the internet on a daily basis.
So this category here is to name and shame these companies in the hope that the information will disuade people from signing up to such unethical companies, and hopefully in the long run to discourage these companies from such behaviour.