Cloaking device made for spammers

Thursday, 9 October 2003, 2:16 PM EST

Call them spackers -- they're the new breed of computer crackers who earn a living in cahoots with spammers.

The latest innovations developed by such mercenary hackers on behalf of the junk e-mail profession are techniques that enable spammers -- or scam artists for that matter -- to create websites that are essentially untraceable.

One group in Poland is currently advertising "invisible bulletproof hosting" in online forums for spammers. For $1,500 per month, the group says it can protect a site from network sleuthing tools used by spam opponents, such as traceroute and whois.

Until now, antispammers have relied on such tools to identify the numeric Internet protocol address behind a website advertised by spam. In the past, shutting down a site used to sell spammed products -- or to rip off gullible online users via phishing schemes -- was often just a matter of notifying the hosting company responsible for the IP address.

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