Spam masquerades as admin alerts

Wednesday, 16 October 2002, 10:56 AM EST

A new breed of pop-up ads is appearing mysteriously on Microsoft Windows users' computers. The so-called "Messenger spams" have security experts and system administrators scratching their heads -- and recipients fuming.

Some of the ads, which hit Windows systems through backdoor networking ports and not by e-mail or Web browsing, appear to have been generated by Direct Advertiser, a $700 software program developed by Florida-based DirectAdvertiser.com.

By tapping into Messenger, a Windows service originally designed to enable system administrators to send messages to users on a network, Direct Advertiser can deliver "completely anonymous and virtually untraceable" ads "straight to the screen of your client," according to the company's website.

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