Pump-n-dump for fun & profit: an in-depth look into stock spam and brokerage account compromise operations

Dmitri Alperovitch, Dr Paul Judge, Dr Sven Krasser, Dr Phyllis Schneck Secure Computing
Dane VandenBerg US National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance

Text and image-based spam containing 'hot tips' about stocks traded on the Pink Sheets or Over the Counter Bulletin Board (OTCBB) trading exchanges has risen sharply in recent years, comprising as much as 30-40% of all spam worldwide on an average day.

In this research study, we will provide the results of in-depth analysis of the correlation between messaging traffic volumes for spam promoting specific stock symbols and the trading activity for those stocks on the bulletin board exchanges. With investigative access to restricted trading information, we are able to provide an exclusive detailed look at exactly how organized criminal networks are profiting from this scheme, profile the owners and companies whose stocks are being promoted, and present data quantifying the number of victims those criminal networks are able to entice on a daily basis.

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