ISP Busted, Spam Drops

Here’s the type of headline we all like to see. ISP McColo was taken down on Tuesday by upstream provider Hurricane Electric, rendering McColo’s downstream ISP without most of its Internet traffic. Hurricane Electric terminated McColo’s service shortly after a group of notable security researchers and vendors released a report showing that McColo and a few other ISPs were hosting Web sites known to cater to child pornography and malware. The report also alleged that McColo was known for carrying some of the world’s largest botnets.

After the takedown, experts immediately noticed a significant decrease in the level of spam worldwide. That drop was at least 35%. The exact figure is still debatable, but experts speculate that the ISP was responsible for anywhere between 35% and 70% of the world’s total spam.

s we’d expect, companies such as McAfee are certainly happy about the shutdown:
"We've certainly enjoyed the reduction in spam the last couple of days," said Dave Marcus, security research manager for McAfee. "This organization was responsible for a lot of malicious activity. Putting them out of business was the right thing to do."

Experts say the drop could last for several days. That’s the good news / bad news: drops in spam activity are nice, but they’re never permanent. McColo's customers will likely regroup and find other providers through which they can carry their attacks. The other good news is that this drop has lasted for about 48 hours, which is a record for spammers.

We applaud
Hurricane Electric for taking a stance, and hope other providers will continue to disassociate themselves with ISPs that cater to illicit content. Researchers are continuing work to unveil shady ISPs. Contrary to popular conceptions, many Internet providers hosting spam are located on U.S. shores. We’re rooting for the good guys. After all, no one enjoys hoards of spam.
Tags:  spam, ISP, bus, TED, BU, AM