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Cleaner E-Mail? Thank Spammer Shut-Down

POSTED: 12:15 PM ET, 11/13/2008 by Derek Kravitz

ATTN: Missing the regular barrage of junk e-mail in your inbox?

For the moment, at least, the volume of junk mail sent worldwide has "dropped drastically" since the San Jose firm responsible for much of the suspected activity was taken offline yesterday, washingtonpost.com's Brian Krebs reports.

McColo, the Web-hosting company that computer security experts have dubbed the U.S. staging ground for spam, was unexpectedly shuttered yesterday after two separate Internet services decided to block the company's Web access. (Arbor Networks theorized that McColo went down at about 9 a.m. Eastern time Nov. 10.)

The results were, well, astonishing:

MXLogic, a security vendor, reported a 50 percent drop in worldwide spam mail traffic on Wednesday.

"This represents the first time that we have seen immediate, significant, measurable reductions in spam volume as a result of a spammer arrest or registrar/colocation termination," MXLogic reported.

During October, an average of 190 billion spam messages were sent daily, Computerworld reported. Yesterday, however, the projected daily total fell to 112 billion, a 41 percent decline, based on the spam volume that the firm IronPort recorded after McColo was cut off.

John Bambenek of the Internet Storm Center likened McColo to the "bad guys."

Still, don't expect your e-mail box to remain spam-free.

Adam O'Donnell of the ZDNet Zero Day blog points out that spammers usually regroup after rogue ISP's are put out of business. McColo's demise will result in "merely a temporary lull," he said.

Mike Masnick of Techdirt writes that "it seems quite likely that they'll find some other hosting company that will gladly take them on and everything will be up and running again." Trying to shut down such rogue spammers, he writes, is "a big game of whack-a-mole."

By Derek Kravitz |  November 13, 2008; 12:15 PM ET
Previous: Bailout Lacks Oversight, Spam Host Shut Down, Rezko Denied New Trial | Next: Minnesota Senate Recount Looms

Comments

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Kudos to shutting down the beligent and disrespectful spammers and their service provider.
However, this is but an annoyance and spam assasin and our spam filters already filtered the majority of these unsolicited emails.
Much serious threats still exist by physhing, spyware, keyloggers and 'backdoor viruses' that companies (including microsoft and all commercial antivirus companies) permit to operate within their software products.
Chinese, Russian, Israeli, Arab and other countries also have the capacity to penetrate these backdoors and, as was recently discovered on a small scale, have logged and archived passwords of people, companies, agencies, including banking transactions, website access, and perhaps even carelessly guarded codes for the power grid, emergency management etc.
I am amazed that the powers that be would allow these cyber punks to install keyloggers and spyware with impunity. This is a GREAT step but only a first step.

Posted by: costaricanet | November 13, 2008 9:48 PM

I wish to say a heartfelt thanks to the people concerned, my spam has dropped a hundred fold, from over 1,000 spams a day I only get 5 or 6, trouble is how long will this last, there's bound to be another waiting around the corner, its time ISP's got their act together and spent time and trouble tracing them all and let us have a spam free world.

Posted by: rlbradley | November 14, 2008 10:11 AM

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