Hakin9 Magazine & Their Spam Problem

Fri Oct 5 18:35:05 CDT 2012

Based on casual conversation at InfoSec conferences and on Twitter, it seems to be common knowledge that Hakin9 is a spam friendly company. The number of unsolicited mails to thousands of people, often repeatedly, asking them to write articles for the magazine is staggering. Not content to stick to e-mail, the company has taken to joining social media and software vendor forums to send private messages to thousands of people they think might be qualified, soliciting for the same. Members of attrition.org have received a variety of this article request spam, as well as two "partnership" spams.

A Google search for "hakin9 spam" turned up surprisingly few results. However, several pieces of evidence should demonstrate how bad the problem is. Not only is 'spam' considered bad practice and unethical by many, Hakin9 might be violating Polish law regarding unfair commercial practice (Reference: Unfair Commercial Practices Act of 23 August 2007). Article 9, 3) of the Act states:

In all circumstances, the following aggressive commercial practices shall be regarded as unfair commercial practices:


3) making persistent solicitations by telephone, fax, e-mail or other remote media and not resulting from the consumer?s action or omission, except in circumstances and to the extent justified under national law to enforce a contractual obligation;

First, at BruCON 2012, one of the Lightning Talks was titled "Hakin9 - Spam Kings" by @digininja (Slides [PDF). He has also written a blog about the Hakin9 spam problem that also includes his tale of Hakin9 reaching out to him after his negative Tweets. The conversation between himself and Ewelina Soltysiak played out on G+ and is available to everyone. Despite repeated assurance that he was removed from multiple lists, @digininja continued to get spam requesting he write articles for them.

Second, in preparation for this article, we solicited our Twitter followers to send examples of the Hakin9 spam they received. We requested copies from any source: email, LinkedIn, forums, or anywhere else. In less than 24 hours, we received a substantial number of these. Consider that everyone that sent copies to us consider them spam.

Third, a quick search of security related mail lists finds Hakin9 sending the same solicitations to the Security Basics, Full Disclosure, and EduCause mail lists, as far back as 2006.

Fourth, a search through Twitter finds several more people that have received these solicitations, some indicating it is not the first time they have received it:

Wed Aug 01 22:10:47 +0000 2012 @gattaca Dave Lewis says: Based on the volume of queries I'm receiving it seems Hakin9 is spamming the universe in search of writers.
Wed Oct 19 14:54:09 +0000 2011 @sandrogauci Sandro Gauci says: are you also getting "spammed" by pentest/hakin9 zine looking for writers? its getting annoying - they should co-ordinate their efforts
Wed Oct 19 15:17:37 +0000 2011 @ArchangelAmael Archangel Amael says: QT @sandrogauci are you also getting "spammed" by pentest/hakin9 zine looking for writers? its getting annoying < Yes, and yes it is.

Fifth, and finally, consider the "partnership" mails that they send out to different organizations. Sending such requests to us, when we document security companies sending spam is amusing. More importantly, look at the solicitation; they want to cooperate, but will not give us details. Instead, they direct us to their main page to find out more. If their public web page has these details, why can't it be included in the email? These are obvious trolls looking to get more hits / readers.

From: Ewa Dudzic (ewal@software.com.pl)
To: root[at]attrition.org
Date: Thu, 11 May 2006 11:50:35 +0200
Subject: hakin9 magazine

To whom it may concern,

I would like to ask for opportunity to cooperate with you. What's the
Please visit our magazine website www.en.hakin9.org to find out more.
I don't want to send so many details in this mail and if you are interested in
starting a cooperation/partnership between us, please let me know.

I look forward to hearing from you
Best regards
Ewa Dudzic

Software Developer's Journal,
magazine for professional programmers
Hard Core IT Security magazine

Software-Wydawnictwo Sp.z.o.o
Piskowa 3, 01-067 Warsaw, Poland
Phone: +4822 887 14 57
Fax:   +4822 887 10 11

From: Ewa Dudzic (ewal@software.com.pl)
To: webmaster[at]attrition.org
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2006 10:12:11 +0200
Subject: link exchange

Dear Webmaster,

I am trying to gain some exposure on the web for our site hakin9

I'd like you to consider adding my site to your links page.

You can view the site at http://www.hakin9.org/en

Your site will be listed within the categories located at:

I would appreciate it if you would link back to my site for our mutual

Thank you for your consideration. If you have any question, please feel free
to contact me.

Best Regards,
Ewa Dudzic

Software-Wydawnictwo Sp. z o.o.
Piaskowa 3
01 - 067 Warsaw, Poland
Phone: 004822 887 14 57
Fax:   004822 887 10 11

From: Pawel Plocki (pawel.plocki@software.com.pl)
To: moderators[at]osvdb.org
Date: Fri, 10 Aug 2012 16:18:43 +0200
Subject: [OSVDB Mods] Co-Partnership with Hakin9


My name is Pawel Plocki and I'm an Editor of Hakin9 OnDemand - a line of
Hakin9 magazine which is the biggest publication devoted to IT Security.

I would like to talk about possibilities of co-operation between OSVDB and
my magazine.
You can find us here: www.hakin9.org

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,
Pawel Plocki
Editor of Hakin9 OnDemand at Hakin9 Media Sp. z o. o.

To add a bit of irony, you can always read the "Hakin9 Special Issue - Get Rid of Spam!"

As @digininja shared in his presentation, here is a list of email addresses associated with Hakin9 and their parent company. We are including them here so that they may be harvested by spammers who routinely troll our site. Fair is fair.

pawel.szewczuk@software.com.pl			biuro@polman-software.com.pl
agnieszka.szalaj@software.com.pl		biuro@pc-software.com.pl
sebastian.bula@software.com.pl			malgorzta.skora@software.com.pl
malgorzata.skora@software.com.pl		maciej.kozuszek@software.com.pl
aleksandra.pawlak@software.com.pl		roger.zacharczyk@software.com.pl
karolina.lesinska@software.com.pl		olga.kartseva@software.com.pl
grzegorz.tabaka@software.com.pl			patrycja.przybylowicz@software.com.pl
anna.wojtarowicz@software.com.pl		jakub.tschierse@software.com.pl
leputa.judyta@software.com.pl			michal.wloczko@software.com.pl
marta.jablonska@software.com.pl			maciej.krynica@software.com.pl
ewa.dudzic@software.com.pl			michal.chmiel@software.com.pl
k.chauca@software.com.pl			web@software.com.pl
hussein.rajabali@software.com.pl		joanna.derehajlo@software.com.pl
m.wisniewski@software.com.pl			pawel@software.com.pl
zbigniew.puchcinski@software.com.pl		pogroszewski@software.com.pl
bbj@software.com.pl				joanna.pieniek@software.com.pl
gajewski@software.com.pl			andrzej.kuca@software.com.pl
anna.dziadkiewicz@software.com.pl		bula@software.com.pl
en@software.com.pl				abo@software.com.pl
orchowska@software.com.pl			ewa.lozowicka@software.com.pl
adv@software.com.pl				angelina.kussy@software.com.pl
agnieszka.cieslicka@software.com.pl		joanna.wisniewska@software.com.pl
maria.kubiak@software.com.pl			adela.kuzniarska@software.com.pl
olga.glowala@software.com.pl			pawel.plocki@software.com.pl
angelika.gucwa@software.com.pl			adv_en@software.com.pl
mariusz.peda@software.com.pl			sdj_en@software.com.pl
ireneusz.pogroszewski@software.com.pl		iwona.brzezik@software.com.pl
cooperation@software.com.pl			aleksandra.bielska@software.com.pl
shu.chauhan@software.com.pl			kariery_rekrutacja13@software.com.pl
KONFERENCJI_rekrutacja7@software.com.pl		REDAKTORA_rekrutacja7@software.com.pl
robertg@software.com.pl				piotr.lempkowski@software.com.pl
B601B8CE@software.com.pl			isecman@software.com.pl
anna.zawadka@software.com.pl			lukasz.koska@software.com.pl
koska@software.com.pl				editors@software.com.pl
judyta@software.com.pl				chauhan@software.com.pl
rekrutacja.kontakt@software.com.pl		rekrutacja@software.com.pl
olga.sztykowa@software.com.pl			adam.robakiewicz@software.com.pl
a.krypska@software.com.pl			maciej.pocula@software.com.pl
natalia.sieniutowicz@software.com.pl		krzysztof.dlugozima@software.com.pl
malgorzata.spolnik@software.com.pl		marczyk@software.com.pl
leiko.dmytro@software.com.pl			barbara.orchowska@software.com.pl
tabaka@software.com.pl				pentestlab@software.com.pl
natalia.boniewicz@software.com.pl		susanna.romantsova@software.com.pl
zwierowicz@software.com.pl			katarzyna.zwierowicz@software.com.pl
kasia@software.com.pl				marta.sulowska@software.com.pl
mariusz@software.com.pl				justyna.ksiazek@software.com.pl
maciej.moscicki@software.com.pl			wojciech.chrapka@software.com.pl
karina.strojek@software.com.pl			paulina.plocha@software.com.pl
marcin.pawlak@software.com.pl			agnieszka.marchocka@software.com.pl
kinga.polynczuk@software.com.pl			zacharczyk@software.com.pl
ilona.kacprzak@software.com.pl			slawomir.krajewski@software.com.pl
lozowicka@software.com.pl			marcin@software.com.pl
tomasz.lopuszanski@software.com.pl		newsletterpl@software.com.pl
aleksandra.gorecka@software.com.pl		michalina.choros@software.com.pl
marcin.jelowicki@software.com.pl		michal.surowiec@software.com.pl
wierzchowiak@software.com.pl			konrad.jakoniuk@software.com.pl
ewa.swierczewska@software.com.pl		wisniewski@software.com.pl
przemyslaw.banasiewicz@software.com.pl		subscription_support@software.com.pl
grzegorz.gierek@software.com.pl			rekrutacja7@software.com.pl
zerro@software.com.pl				monikag@software.com.pl
marta@software.com.pl				rekrutacja26@software.com.pl
beata.namieta@software.com.pl			karolina.kaczmarek@software.com.pl
kielb@software.com.pl				anna.wacewicz@software.com.pl
klaudia.syczewska@software.com.pl		maciej.michalowski@software.com.pl
paula.kielb@software.com.pl			kamila.tarlowska@software.com.pl
dorota.paczka@software.com.pl			agnieszka.kniter@software.com.pl
joanna.giz@software.com.pl			karolina.rybak@software.com.pl
bialecki@software.com.pl			competition_psd@software.com.pl
dorota.religa@software.com.pl			4F018181.1070603@software.com.pl
rekrutacja8@software.com.pl			anna.lukasiak@software.com.pl
aneta.dorenda@software.com.pl			agnieszka.tylska@software.com.pl
rekrutacja14@software.com.pl			dawid@software.com.pl
alex@software.com.pl				witek@software.com.pl
en@pentestmag.com				editors@software.com.pl 

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