Several small Internet service providers have been shocked to see some of their most unlikely users turn into spammers. But it turns out the users are unwitting tools of a new virus that experts say is the first case they've seen of hackers finding a way to commercially exploit their skills.. . .
Several small Internet service providers have been shocked to see some of their most unlikely users turn into spammers. But it turns out the users are unwitting tools of a new virus that experts say is the first case they've seen of hackers finding a way to commercially exploit their skills.

The scheme--seemingly spread across desktops in the form of a virus--was tested by hackers throughout June, apparently to explore the possibility of infecting home machines with software that would generate unsolicited bulk e-mail without the knowledge of the machines' owners.

"I believe it was a dry run," said Michael Reaves, systems administrator at Adimpleo/FirstNetSecurity.com. Reaves' organization registered the first case of a "spamming trojan" on June 14, in the San Francisco Bay area, on [email protected]'s network. He believes a commercial version will soon be launched.

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