More Than the CAPTCHA is Broken at Gmail

Two months ago, the big Gmail news was that spammers had broken Google's extra-heavy-duty CAPTCHA and had begun to run amok offering "private" enhancements and Nigerian fortunes. This month, it's the news that they wasted their time.

According to reports, the Information Security Research Team (INSERT) has demonstrated a relatively easy exploit of a "serious security flaw" in Gmail's message forwarding system that allows spammers to bypass Gmail's sending limits as well as most anti-spam filtering. According to INSERT, all you need is one Gmail account, and the ability to connect to ports 25 and 80; if you're savvy enough to do that, you're all set to start your own spam network, sponsored by Google. An additional benefit is Google's karma: because the service is highly regarded, most providers whitelist all Gmail traffic, meaning that spam sent via the exploit will pass right by ISP-level filters.

Google has not, to our knowledge, made any public statement on the exploit, but we expect they're fully aware and hard at work patching the holes.

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