Trend Micro's spam traps surface more Ashley Madison fake users

The bogus accounts may have been created by spammers

There hasn't been a lack of strange things turning up in the Ashley Madison data leak.

One of the latest discoveries comes from Trend Micro, which found bogus Ashley Madison profiles that used email addresses the company created solely for collecting spam samples.

The email addresses are known as "honeypots," a general term for systems set up by researchers in the hope that they will be attacked. Studying the attacks can shed light on new methods used by malicious hackers.

One of Trend's addresses was used for a profile describing a 33-year-old Los Angeles woman who is "sexy, aggressive" and "knows what she wants," wrote Ryan Flores, a threat research manager with Trend, in a blog post.

So why would someone use one of Trend's honeypot addresses to register an Ashley Madison account?

There's no definite answer but there are a couple of theories. Flores looked at the IP addresses used to register the honeypot addresses.

Those IP addresses, which were contained in the large batches of data about users, were distributed across various countries and on consumer DSL lines, Flores wrote.

About 90 per cent of the profiles, however, were male. It has been theorized that Ashley Madison may have padded out the site with fake female profiles in order to attract more male customers, so that finding doesn't quite fit.

If the accounts weren't created by Ashley Madison, there's another possibility - forum and comment spammers, Flores wrote.

"These forum and comment spammers are known to create website profiles and pollute forum threads and blog posts with spam comments," Flores wrote.

Ashley Madison didn't require non-paying users to confirm their email addresses, so there was no need for the spammers to have access to the accounts they registered.

"It leaves the possibility that at least some of the profiles were created by these spambots," Flores wrote.

Trend Micro stumbled on the finding after their honeypot addresses began receiving extortion attempts from scammers.

Following a large release of data last month, Ashley Madison users reportedly received ransom requests in order to keep scammers from revealing their information to employers and family.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags trend microspambotsspam email. securityAshley Madison

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?