Viral in the bad sense: MessengerChecker

I just received an email on my Hotmail account from someone that normally never contacts me. The email itself is clearly generated by an automatic process:
msnchecker2

When I take a look at the website that was cited (I won’t link to it), it is not clear to see what the service is actually about: I’m guessing it is to see who blocked you (MSN contacts that look off-line to you, but that are actually online). To check if one of your MSN buddies has blocked you, you ‘only’ have to fill in your Hotmail username and password. This should already make you nervous: you should never give those credentials to a site that’s not Hotmail or MSN.
messengerchecker: viral in the bad sense
Take a look under the “Verder” (= “Continue”) button. In a very light gray (#dfdfdf to be exact), there is the option to email all your MSN buddies, and by default it’s ON. Since it is hardly visible, I guess most people who try out the service leave it like that and as such ‘give permission’ to send out a couple of dozen to several hundreds of emails. You only need a few gullible recipients to create a ‘viral’ effect.

In the terms and conditions on the bottom of the (very long) page, you’ll find:

6. De gebruiker die deze dienst gebruikt is zelf verantwoordelijk voor het goed bekijken van de opties alvorens hij of zij op de knop [ verder ] drukt.
7. U dient zelf de optie [ mailen naar uw MSN vrienden ] uit te vinken als u uw vrienden niet wilt mailen.
8. Er kan geen aanspraak worden gemaakt op de werking van onze diensten omdat wij het checker systeem niet zelf hosten. Wij zijn alleen een technische kant die er voor probeert tezorgen dat u contact kunt krijgen met de MSN server. De MSN server/checker kan soms offline zijn. Wij mailen absoluut zelf niet. Alle mailtjes worden door de gebruiker zelf gedaan. Hij of zij is hier dus ook zelf verantwoordelijk voor. Bij overmatig gebruik kunt u mailen naar de persoon waarvan u het mailtje heeft ontvangen. Bij gebruik van onze dienst stelt u ons vrij van enige schade aan derden.

In short:
#6: the user is responsible for verifying all options before clicking [ Continue ]
#7: you should disable the option [ send mail to all MSN friends ] if you don’t want to send those messages
#8: we don’t send the emails, the user does. If you have complaints, contact that person, not us.

I certainly don’t agree with their point #8. Technically, they send the messages. They could claim the user ‘requested it’. In any case: it’s spam!

The person responsible for the site is already known as the “Mongool van scripthosting“: ene P.J. (Peter) Bierling from Groningen.

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