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Banks hold the key to stopping spam: Study

The millions of dollars in firewall security that software companiesspend aren’t slowing spammers down, but a simple concerted effort bybanks could, said computer scientist Kirill Levchenko.

A massive two-year study of spam has found: 1) You do get the Viagra. 2) You don’t get more spam.



3) Banks help them make a lot of money.



The millions of dollars in firewall security that software companies spend aren’t slowing spammers down, but a simple concerted effort by banks could, said computer scientist Kirill Levchenko.



Using web crawlers, Levchenko and other University of California computer scientists tracked purchases, sales and credit card transactions.



The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce turned up on its list of merchant banks authorizing or settling transactions for spam-advertised purchases from World Pharmacy. But CIBC spokesman Rob McLeod said the bank identification number the study tracked had actually been sold by CIBC to Global Payments Inc. in 2001.



Other banks identified are in Russia, Latvia, Azerbaijan and St. Kitts & Nevis.



The banks and payment processors are the “weakest link” in the chain and the way to kill illegal spam purchases, Levchenko said.



“If the banks refuse to process these transactions, you significantly affect their bottom line … It is the banking component of the spam value chain that is the least studied and, we believe, the most critical,” the study said.

 
 
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