Crazy giant study on spam where authors disable spam filters and bought everything offfered to them:
Abstract—Spam-based advertising is a business. While it has engendered both widespread antipathy and a multi-billion dollar anti-spam industry, it continues to exist because it fuels a proﬁtable enterprise. We lack, however, a solid understanding of this enterprise’s full structure, and thus most anti-spam interventions focus on only one facet of the overall spam value chain (e.g., spam ﬁltering, URL blacklisting, site takedown). In this paper we present a holistic analysis that quantiﬁes the full set of resources employed to monetize spam email— including naming, hosting, payment and fulﬁllment—using extensive measurements of three months of diverse spam data, broad crawling of naming and hosting infrastructures, and over 100 purchases from spam-advertised sites. We relate these resources to the organizations who administer them and then use this data to characterize the relative prospects for defensive interventions at each link in the spam value chain. In particular, we provide the ﬁrst strong evidence of payment bottlenecks in the spam value chain; 95% of spam-advertised pharmaceutical, replica and software products are monetized using merchant services from just a handful of banks.
Click Trajectories: End-to-End Analysis of the Spam Value Chain
Kirill Levchenko, Andreas Pitsillidis, Neha Chachra, Brandon Enright, Mark Felegyhazi, Chris Grier, Tristan Halvorson, Chris Kanich, Christian Kreibich, He Liu, Damon McCoy,
Nicholas Weaver, Vern Paxson, Geoffrey M. Voelker, Stefan Savage
UC San Diego, UC Berkeley, International Computer Science Institute, Laboratory of Cryptography and System Security (CrySyS), Berkeley, CA and Budapest University of Technology and Economics