DEFCON 17: Stealing Profits from Spammers or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Spam

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Genre: Science & Technology

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Shared January 14, 2011

Speaker: Grant Jordan WiseCrack Tools

Every time you look at your inbox, there it is... SPAM! Your penis needs enlargement, a horny single girl from Russia "accidentally" emailed you, and a former Nigerian prince knows that you're just the man to safeguard his millions. But in 2007, while still a student at MIT, one particular kind caught my eye: stock spam. Those bizarre stock market "tips" that claim you should buy a particular stock because it's "about to go through the roof!!!!" Like most people, I initially thought nothing of these ridiculous emails. That was until Kyle Vogt (now of proposed the stupidest idea I had ever heard: "There has to be some way we can make money off these spammers". After trying, and failing, to prove Kyle wrong, the two of us embarked on a 4-month study into the dark depths of stock spam. In this talk, I'll explain how we went from hand-sorting tens of thousands of spam emails to developing a trading strategy able to take a piece of the spammers' profits. And how, in the process, our work produced data that disproved the results of nearly all the existing stock spam research.

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