Spamhaus: Microsoft Now 5th Most Spam Friendly ISP
Microsoft is rising quickly on a running list of the Top 10 Worst Spam Service ISPs as maintained by spamhaus.org, a group that tracks unsolicited commercial e-mail.
The software giant debuted on the list earlier this month at number 9 (one being the worst), and has slid over the past few days down to number 5. Spamhaus says spammers and scam artists are abusing Microsoft's live.com and livefilestore.com properties to redirect visitors to sites that peddle fake pharmacy products, porn and Nigerian 419 scams.
Spamhaus explains how entities wind up on its Top 10 list:
Although all networks claim to be anti-spam, some network executives factor revenue made from hosting known spam gangs into corporate policy decisions to continue to sell services to spam operations. Others simply decide that closing the holes in their end-user broadband systems that allow spammers access would be too costly to their bottom lines.
Richard Cox, Spamhaus's chief information officer, said spammers advertise the links at Microsoft's properties by the tens of thousands at a time, because they know anti-spam groups are unlikely to block Microsoft properties outright.
"We have been notifying Microsoft about this for some months now at a high level that the abuse at livefilestore.com we believe now exceeds any genuine use of that service that may exist," Cox said. He added that while Spamhaus has not yet listed any major Microsoft properties on its block list, it has listed a couple of smaller Microsoft domains to get their attention.
Cox said Yahoo! until earlier this week was listed high in the Top 10 list for the very same activity, but that the company quickly took steps to remove or shut down the offending domains.
"It should not be difficult for a company with Microsoft's resources to identify and mitigate that abuse in-house without any external input, but so far this has not happened," Cox said. "Microsoft's live.com system has for some time been supporting an illegal drug sales operation, and Microsoft has known this."
Microsoft declined to make someone available for an interview about this. But the company e-mailed Security Fix a statement from John Scarrow, general manager of safety services at Microsoft. Scarrow wrote:
"Spam and other abuse scenarios are not Microsoft-specific. Microsoft offers Windows Live, a suite of software and services that provides opportunities for customers to post and share their own content through Windows Live Hotmail, Windows Live Spaces, Windows Live SkyDrive and other free services. As such, spammers have multiple avenues to target consumers with malicious activities. We take protecting our customers' security and privacy seriously and are continually working to improve their experiences while making industry leading progress to mitigate such attacks through both oversight and technology advancements. Using Windows Live services for spam is explicitly prohibited by the terms of service, and Windows Live accounts that are found to be used by spammers are aggressively removed."
The accuracy of that last statement may be open to interpretation: Some of the live.com properties listed by Spamhaus that were used by spammers more than a month ago are still active.
What's more, other security companies have been publicly warning about upticks in spam and scam activity hosted by various Microsoft for many months now. In January, McAfee's Chris Barton wrote about the exact same problem. Last month, U.K.-based security firm Marshal said it was seeing large numbers of spam campaigns abusing Microsoft's livefilestore.com service (previously known as Windows Live Folders).
November 21, 2008; 10:24 AM ET
Categories: Latest Warnings , Web Fraud 2.0
Save & Share: Previous: Peculiar Patch Pits iPhone Security vs. Safari
Next: Felony Spyware/Porn Charges Against Teacher Dropped
Posted by: stephke | November 21, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Keenobserver | November 21, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: citigreg | November 21, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Roofelstoon | November 21, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: richardgreen123 | November 21, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: ams-w | November 21, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: MasterGuru | November 22, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: AlphaCentauri | November 22, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: dean_guadagni | November 24, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: peterpallesen | November 25, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.