A fake bulk email using a MortgageDaily.com email return address was fraudulently sent with the intention of damaging the publication's ability to deliver its semiweekly news alerts.
The fake emails went out about 11 PM Thursday, MortgageDaily.com reported to the FBI.
The messages, many of which bounced to the email address of MortgageDaily.com's advertising account executive, contained mainly HTML programming language and no actual message. Some of the text from one of the online news company's pages was sprinkled throughout the bogus message.
International organizations that work to prevent spam received complaints from recipients of the fraudulent, unwanted messages. The culprit sent the message -- which included the domain name, the I.P. address, and an email address of MortgageDaily.com -- directly to email addresses of some anti-spam companies. The report to the FBI said the message was sent "to thousands of recipients who in turn complained to anti-spam organizations."
"The individual that sent this message was quite knowledegeable about how to inflict significant damage," said Sam Garcia, publisher of the Irving, Texas company. "We hope to help the FBI catch the person that committed this crime against MortgageDaily.com."
In addition to competitors of MortgageDaily.com and disgruntled companies that may have been the subject of news articles, Garcia said he thinks the work may have been done by a malicious computer hacker.
The mortgage industry publication said that no known breach has occurred with its registered user database.
MortgageDaily.com's website host -- Webstream.net in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida -- shut down the site Friday, the report said. Webstream refused to reopen the site, which is now hosted by another company.