Verizon to Implement Spam Blocking Measures
Verizon.net is home to more than twice as many spam-spewing zombies as any other major Internet service provider in the United States, according to an analysis of the most recent data from anti-spam outfit Spamhaus.org. Verizon, however, says it plans to put measures in place to prevent it from being used as a home to so many spammers.
Security Fix examined the latest stats from Spamhaus's "composite block list," (CBL) which relies on intelligence relayed by large spamtraps and e-mail infrastructures around the world. The list only is comprised of Internet addresses that have been observed to be sending spam, worms and viruses, or participating in other malicious activity.
Spamhaus currently includes 225,454 U.S. based Internet addresses on its CBL. Of those, nearly one-quarter -- almost 56,000 -- are assigned to Verizon.net. Comcast, which according to Spamhaus is home to the next-largest concentration of malicious hosts among U.S. ISPs, has fewer than half as many listings.
If spammers are attracted to the company's network, it may be because Verizon still allows customers to send e-mail on Port 25, the communications channel that is traditionally used by large organizations to send e-mail.
Most other large ISPs long ago stopped allowing customers to send mail on Port 25 because spammers typically set up junk e-mail relays on this port after infecting a computer with malware designed to convert the host system into a spam zombie.
Many ISPs have migrated customers away from Port 25 to sending and receiving e-mail on port 587, which - unlike Port 25 - requires the sender to authenticate him or herself with a username and password before it will permit the sending or relaying of e-mail.
Verizon spokesman Clifford Lee said within the next few months, the company plans to shift to using Port 587 for e-mail originating on the Verizon network.
"The majority of our network customers will not be impacted by the change," Lee said. "For those Verizon.net customers who use a Web browser to access their email, the Port 25 blocking should be transparent and their email usage should not be impacted. By switching to port 587, which uses authentication and is the industry accepted alternative to Port 25, Verizon will be able to quickly identify spammers, including those using so-called zombie systems, and shut them down."
"Those customers who may be impacted by the shift to port 587, will be notified in advance of the change and we will provide them with the technical assistance needed to accommodate the switch to port 587."
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