The Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection (ASACP) has uncovered a trend in marketing child pornography (CP) where spammers use links in emails to track surfers who click through to their sites.
Criminal CP rings have long used spam email to market to very large numbers of recipients. However, ASACP has discovered a ring that is employing a method of tracking which emails are opened and clicked through to their websites. A unique code is used in the hyperlink contained in each spam email for tracking purposes, allowing the ring to identify active email accounts in their spam email lists and target those that have opened, read and visited their sites with more child pornography spam email.
Once the hyperlink is clicked, the unique code in the hyperlink is recorded by software embedded within the index page of the child pornography site and saved for data retrieval later. This method is similar to the methods used by traffic trading sites to monitor the amount of traffic being sent by each member account to the trading site.
In addition, because of the large amount of CP spam emails, there has been a monthly increase from 150 to 300 Red Flag Reports – sites reported, reviewed, confirmed to be suspect CP and forwarded to law enforcement.
“There are various reasons why people would click on such a link – some because they can’t believe that it could be CP and others because they are just curious. Please know that if you ever see an image of a child being sexually abused, that image remains with you forever. Don’t expose yourself to even the possibility of seeing such a horrific image. Plus, your email address is included in these criminals’ database,” says Joan Irvine, executive director of the ASACP
The organization urges surfers to send any suspected CP website addresses and/or links to ASACP via the CP reporting hotline.
ASACP does not accept spam email reports. However, if the URL of the suspected CP site is contained in the email, is should be reported.