At The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), I am the Director of Research in Computer Forensics. What does that mean? It means that I work on three things:
I train students who will have CyberCrime related jobs in the future, including Computer Forensics techs, CyberCrime Investigators, Special Agents, and Computer Scientists. Some of my current students are interning with the FBI, the US Secret Service, and the Jefferson County Sheriff just to name a few places.
I do research on CyberCrime related issues, including Phishing, Spam, and Malware. Besides writing about Ron Paul Spam, I've also written about many aspects of the Storm Worm, and have had my research presented at many law enforcement and computer security meetings. My students and I meet with people working in law enforcement and struggling with CyberCrime issues and work on better solutions to these problems. Several students have seen their research projects turned in to active law enforcement investigations.
I do public awareness and training for the public and current professionals. With October being Cyber Security Awareness Month, that was a pretty busy time for me, doing presentations on Spam, Phishing, Botnets, and participating in a Threat Assessment panel for the Congressional Internet Caucus".
With regards to phishing, I'm a member of the CastleCops PIRT Squad where our all volunteer staff works to notify webmasters, banks, and law enforcement when someone has placed a phishing site on the Internet, and to provide them data to help them shut it down, and determine who did the attack. I'm also an active member of the Digital PhishNet where I serve on the Technology Committee, and the AntiPhishing Working Group where I co-chair the Working With Law Enforcement committee.
With regards to spam, I've presented twice at the FBI's "Slam Spam" conference, and have met with more than a hundred law enforcement professionals, security researchers, and lawyers regarding spam and related issues, including the folks who run the Federal Trade Commissions anti-spam lab, which is a fine place to report spam messages -- http://www.ftc.gov/spam/. As soon as UAB is prepared to receive your spam submissions, I'll certainly let you know here!
One of the main research projects we are working on in the Computer Forensics area is our Spam Data Mine for Law Enforcement Applications. We've had a paper accepted for presentation at the Association for Computational Machinery's Symposium on Applied Computing Conference in Brazil, and continue to develop our techniques. My co-authors and co-researchers have developed algorithms that "parse" the interesting parts of incoming spam email messages, and then attempt to "cluster" the messages into groups based on similarities between the parsed attributes. We have really big really fast computers to work on this project, and as our inbound spam volume increases, we have a great team of researchers in the department who specialize in "Grid Computing" who are looking forward to helping us shape our algorithms so they can take advantage of hundreds of processors to allow even more messages to be considered in our clustering and calculations.
In future phases of this research we look forward to having new spam campaigns automatically identified and browsable on a website dedicated to this project.
All of that to make clear to the many dozens of Ron Paul Supporters who have taken their valuable time to send me their thoughts, including a few profane ones, that I am not making this crap up.
How many people do I think were behind the Ron Paul spam? One. And not one that is officially recognized in any capacity by the Ron Paul campaign.
Let me make something very clear. I never said anything that was intended to imply Ron Paul does not have a lot of online support. Is it interesting that others have seen online regularities? Yes. But that doesn't mean that there not truly a large number of online supporters. In fact, I'll go a bit beyond that and give the Paul-ites some ammunition they can use.
One online research site measures vast amounts of Internet traffic, and then makes estimates of how many UNIQUE AMERICAN COMPUTERS visit a given website. Let's look at how some of the candidate websites stack up:
|RonPaul2008.com||155,000 UNIQUE IPs|
Want my source? I'll bet you do. Tell the mad dogs in your midst to stop the obscene phone calls and I'll post it later. haha!
There. Gary Warner of UAB says that Ron Paul's online following is dramatically larger than the offline polls would lead one to believe.
Can we go back to talking about Viagra now?