Sunday, September 11, 2005

Internet Service Providers and Spam

Steve Linford, founded the The Spamhaus Project, which is an international organization based in Great Britain dedicated to fighting Spam. Interestingly enough, he started out as a musician and has worked with Pink Floyd and Michael Jackson. After doing this, he started a small computer company and became sickened at the amount of Spam, he was seeing. Because of this, Steve founded the Spamhaus Project, which is dedicated to fighting Spam.

The Spamhaus Project also provides filtering services all over the world to prevent SPAM from reaching our mailboxes.

Spamhaus recently alleged that ISPs (Internet Service Providers) are knowingly profiting from Spam. The United Nations estimates that the current cost of dealing with Spam is 25 billion dollars a year and Spamhaus estimates that it affects 75 percent of all e-mail addresses. To view the Spamhaus Top Ten worst havens for SPAM go to: Most of them are in the United States.

Recently, they did battle and won with MCI Worldcom over hosting Spam sites. There are also news reports quoting Spamhaus as saying Yahoo is hosting some of the sites (although it isn't clear if Yahoo is to blame) or whomever is registering the domains. You can view their report, along with updates, on the problems they noted with MCI Worldcom by clicking on the title of this post.

The Spammers are now using improved versions of stealth proxy spamming software, which could increase the number of e-mail addresses being affected to 95 percent by 2006. A lot of this is being done via botnets, which are networks of PCs that have been taken over and turned into proxies. Interestingly enough, a lot of these personal PCs were taken over by software viruses put in their computer via a Spam e-mail.

Recently, I did some posts on one of the most current cases out there, which is the Zotob Case. For those who are interested this post goes into more detail on how botnets work:

According to Spamhaus, the release of a commercial spam virus, known as SoBig and it's subsequent variants have been infecting 80,000 to 100,000 PC's daily. In "spammer supermarkets" hosted in China, Russia and Florida, the spam gangs sell lists of fresh proxies (infected PCs). They also communicate with each other about techniques and which networks will turn a blind eye on their activities.

Two of the programs used to send this Spam were written by two Russians (Ruslan Ibragimov and Alexey Panov). They are known as "Send Safe and Direct Mail Sender." Both of these programs are designed to hijack 3rd Party computers to be used in illegal anonymous spamming. Coincidentally, whenever they release a new version of these programs, new versions of the "SoBig" virus begin appearing.

Spam is known to market things that are illegal. In addition to this, the proxy networks, or botnets support illegal activity. These activities include child porn, illegal drug sales and financial crimes. ISPs shouldn't tolerate any behavior associated with this and should be actively preventing it. They should be protecting their customers and other people, who might become victims as a result of Spam.

From a social perspective, it's time for ISPs to realize that it is unacceptable to turn a blind eye in their dealings relevant to this activity. Quite simply, there needs to be a zero tolerance attitude developed in dealing with this.

Laws are being enacted worldwide and many of them can be viewed on Spamhaus's website.

To report SPAM and for free filtering options, here is a good site(Spamcop):

For a previous post, I did on cybernasties and (legislation being proposed to make them illegal) go to:

There are links on the post listed above to contact your political representatives in the United States and Great Britain. To make changes in the world, we need to create laws to deal with these menaces and enforce them aggressively.


prying1 said...

Once again a good article ted - Thanks - nswos

prying1 said...

nswos was the spam protection code. - I typed it in the wrong box - :-O - I wondered where the first batch of letters went when I typed them

Jaguar Julie said...

Ted, I applaud your efforts in educating online users about methods for fighting spam and internet fraud. You had posted a comment on my Google Blog where I discussed being victimized by credit card fraud. I have so much more to report since June 2005 because I took an ACTIVE role to fight those involved in credit card fraud. I hope to be able to publish an update soon so that others can know what they can do to fight back. Those who know me know that I will not take a passive role when it comes to internet fraud. Thanks for your daily efforts!