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Spammers in Space: Sending Spam Email Via Satellites

By David Cawley | 1 minute read

Did you know that some of the spam in your inbox has actually travelled to space?

It’s true! A spammer can send the spam e-mail via satellite and it happens more often that you’d think. Ironically though it’s typically the least sophisticated spam attacks that take such a sophisticated route to your inbox.

So how does exactly does it happen? In certain parts of the world, the telecommunications infrastructure is rather lacking. It would be overly expensive to provide cable internet to remote regions so an alternative is for providers to offer satellite internet. In Africa, for example there are many internet cafe’s that provide internet access in this way.

You’ve probably seen a scam e-mail requesting the transfer of funds to Nigeria. Those e-mails are often sent by hand using real webmail accounts from internet cafes. Many of the large webmail providers track the IP address of the connecting host either by appending an X-Originating-IP header or with a Received header indicating it originated from the web. It’s in this way we can identify the actual source of the sender and trace it back to a particular satellite internet provider.

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