The Prime Time Group pump-and-dump links to an interesting article by Computerworld’s Gregg Keizer about the massive PRTH.PK spam run.

As usual, there are no shortage of suckers:

The spam blast did drive up Prime Time’s share price from Monday’s low of around 7 cents to Wednesday’s high of 11 cents, a 57% jump. Thursday morning, however, the bottom dropped out, and the stock fell to under 7 cents. Trading volumes peaked Wednesday as well, at around 1.7 million shares, substantially higher than any day in the month prior. “You can actually see the wave of activity in the stock and compare it with the volume of spam that we trapped,” said [Sophos analyst Ron] O’Brien.

But here’s an interesting new tactic by the good guys:

Last Wednesday afternoon, Prime Time announced that it was ordering a Non Objecting Beneficial Owners (NOBO) list to get a clearer picture of who owned its shares. “The NOBO list will be used to determine the naked short positions in Prime Time Group Inc.,” the company said in a statement. “The finding will then be reported to the [National Association of Securities Dealers] to take action against the violators of the naked short regulations.”

“Naked short” is a investment term that refers to selling short, essentially a bet that the price will drop, but with a twist: “naked” means that the investor sells short without first making sure he can borrow the shares from another investor holding a “long” position on the stock.

I hope this works; it’d be great to see the profit mechanism behind pump-and-dump spam killed off.

Spamnation notes:

Incidentally, the greeting card spam that built the botnet used to promote PRTH.PK and CYTV.OB also continues. It has iterated through another couple of generations: the current incarnation tells recipients to collect their custom Musical ecard or custom Movie-quality ecard or other variants on that theme. We’ve seen about 150 of these in the past three days, suggesting that the unknown senders are probably well on their way to building up another botnet for their next stock spam run.

Spreading trojans via greeting-card spam is a trademark of the gigantic Storm botnet, AFAIK: SecureWorks info, MessageLabs info, spam levels causing DDoS for Canadian networks, DDoS threat for EDU sector.

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