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Messaging spam

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Messaging spam, sometimes termed spim (a portmanteau of spam and IM, short for instant messenger), makes use of instant messaging systems, such as AOL Instant Messenger or ICQ. Many IM systems offer a directory of users, including demographic information such as age and sex. Advertisers can gather this information, sign on to the system, and send unsolicited messages. To send instant messages to millions of users on most IM services merely requires scriptable software and the recipients’ IM usernames. Spammers have similarly targeted Internet Relay Chat channels, using IRC bots that join channels and bombard them with advertising messages. Because most IM protocols are proprietary, it is easier to enact unilateral changes to make spamming more difficult.

A similar sort of spam can be sent with the Messenger Service in Microsoft Windows. The Messenger Service is an SMB facility intended to allow servers to send pop-up alerts to a Windows workstation. When Windows systems are connected to the Internet with this service running and without an adequate firewall, it can be used to send spam. The Messenger Service can, however, be easily disabled. [1]

Messenger service spam, in particular, has lent itself to spammer use in a particularly circular scheme. In many cases, messenger spammers send messages to vulnerable Windows machines consisting of text like “Annoyed by these messages? Visit this site.” The link leads to a Web site where, for a fee, users are told how to disable the Windows messenger service. Though the messenger service is easily disabled for free by the user, this scam works because it creates a perceived need and then offers an immediate solution. Oftentimes, the only “annoying messages” the user is receiving through Messenger are advertisements to disable Messenger itself.

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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