Inbox Insider: Google's good name attracts spammers

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Spammers are known to take advantage of a legitimate company's good reputation. EBay, PayPal and MySpace have all had their social tools misused by scammers — in eBay's case, spam e-mails contain deals that seem too good to be true; while on MySpace, scammers have made false accounts to send spam messages to other members.

So, it should come as no surprise that Google, one of the largest Internet companies in the world has found itself a victim of spammers.

E-mail security firm MessageLabs intercepted messages in July containing sites.google.com domains — the hallmark of Google's new hosted application, Google Sites, which allows Google users to create wiki-style Web sites.

Because Google is a trusted name in e-mail and the Web, and the Google Sites application doesn't link back to a specific account, these new spam messages can be difficult to block. Instead, the site names are a string of seemingly random letters and numbers.

This isn't the first time that Google has seen its trusted name tarnished by illegal activity. In recent months, spammers have used the Google Docs, Google Calendar and Google Pages — the predecessor to Google Sites — applications to host malware. And, while MessageLabs has reported that Google spam attacks account for only 1% of all spam, the security firm expects the number to grow due to the popularity of the Google domain name.

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