Washington Post Story Convinces Service Providers To Pull The Plug On Major Spam Enabler

from the but-where-do-they-go dept

We’re seeing a bunch of folks pointing out that evidence collected by the Washington Post’s computer security writer, Brian Krebs, is basically responsible for getting that company kicked off the internet. Krebs is a fantastic reporter, so I don’t doubt the story — but I’m always a little skeptical of stories claiming that a huge percentage of spammers have been knocked offline. We see such stories every few months, and it never seems to have any real impact on the amount of spam out there. Just last month there was a report claiming that the world’s largest spam operation was shut down, but the actual amount of spam flowing across the network did not decrease.

This case is a little different, in that it didn’t shut down the spammers themselves, but rather a hosting company that apparently many of the largest zombie botnets relied on. However, 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. That’s not to say it’s bad that these guys get taken down — but at some point people should realize this seems like a big game of whack-a-mole, and there may be better, more efficient ways to tackle the problem.

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Companies: mccolo, washington post

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Comments on “Washington Post Story Convinces Service Providers To Pull The Plug On Major Spam Enabler”

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20 Comments
PaulT (profile) says:

It’s nice that security flaws are addressed by those people who are exposing them to the world – even without the spam problem, it’s a good thing. However, there will only ever be one truly effective solution to the spam problem – get the idiots who are handing money over to the scammers to stop doing so. I fear there’s too many morons out there for this to be realistic, sadly.

Dalton says:

Not just whack-a-mole

Going after the ISPs is actually very efficient. You predict that the criminals will “find some other hosting company that will gladly take them on”, but when an ISP or host knows it might get kicked off the Internet for doing so it will be much more reluctant to do that.

The ISPs and hosts are certainly the most equipped party to monitor what is happening on their own networks, they just need the proper incentives to do it.

Svetlana Gladkova (user link) says:

too bad they'll recover too soon

My major concern is about security experts now having tons more work to do to track the same spammers on other servers belonging to some other hosting company. It looks like with every situation like this they need to start afresh and I don’t think that reducing the volume of spam for a day is really worth it.

eclecticdave (profile) says:

Not just whack-a-mole

> The ISPs and hosts are certainly the most equipped party to monitor what is happening on their own networks, they just need the proper incentives to do it.

Let’s see …

ISP’s monitoring network data to prevent copyright infringment – bad.
ISP’s monitoring network data to prevent spamming – good?

I fail to see how you can have it both ways.

While I hate spam as much as anyone else, ISPs should not be required to police their network to prevent illegal activity – not for any reason.

Xanthir, FCD (profile) says:

Re: Not just whack-a-mole

Let’s see …

ISP’s monitoring network data to prevent copyright infringment – bad.
ISP’s monitoring network data to prevent spamming – good?

I fail to see how you can have it both ways.

While I hate spam as much as anyone else, ISPs should not be required to police their network to prevent illegal activity – not for any reason.

Well, it’s actually quite simple. Copyright infringement is merely a legal issue to ISPs – there’s no reason for them to care about it until people get lawyered up. Spam, on the other hand, is something with actual *effects* on them. If we could eliminate all spam in an instant, the effects on network congestion would be IMMENSE. Thus, ISPs have a good reason to police themselves and each other for spam – it’s for their own survival.

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