Home / Blogs

How to Stop the Spread of Malware? A Call for Action

Wout de Natris

On Webwereld an article was published (in Dutch) following a new Kaspersky malware report Q1-2013. Nothing new was mentioned here. The Netherlands remains the number 3 as far as sending malware from Dutch servers is concerned. At the same time Kaspersky writes that The Netherlands is one of the most safe countries as far as infections go. So what is going on here?

Inbound, outbound and on site

From my anti-spam background I have the experience that as long as a spammer remains under the radar of national authorities, e.g. by making sure that he never targets end users in his own country, he is pretty safe. The international cooperation between national authorities is so low, that seldom that something happens in cross border cases. Priorities are mainly given to national cases as cooperation is near existent. (If priority is given to spam fighting at all.)

The same will be the case for the spreading of malware. National authorities focus on things national. Cross border issues are just too much of a hassle and no one was murdered, right?

Of course it is true that if the allegation is right and we are talking about 157 command and control servers for botnets on thousands and thousands if not millions of servers in The Netherlands, the 157 servers is a very low figure. This does not mean that we can ignore this figure if our country is the number 3 spewing malware country in the world. Something needs to happen. Preferably through self-regulation and if not that way, then through regulation.

If it is also true that it is the same few hosting providers that never respond to complaints, it is time to either make them listen or shut them down. There is no excuse for (regulatory) enforcement bodies not to do so. Harm is being done, the economic effects are huge and the name of The Netherlands is mentioned negatively again and again.

In January 2005 at OPTA we were very proud that we had dropped from the number 3 position worldwide for spamming to a position out of the top 20. In six months time! I do not think it is much harder to do so for sending malware.

A suggestion for an action plan

Here's an action plan:

  1. Give it priority
  2. Start a national awareness campaign
  3. Provide a final date to the hosting community
  4. Preferably coordinate on 1 to 3 with DHPA (Dutch Hosting Providers Association)
  5. Start acting against those that do not mend their ways.

And if anti-botnet infection centre ABUSE-IX starts doing its part on disinfecting end users' devices, The Netherlands may have a winning combination this way.

Of course this can be duplicated in your respective countries also for spam, malware, phishing, cyber crime, etc.

International cooperation

Of course the topics surrounding cyber security calls for international cooperation and coordination. In 2013 it is still virtually impossible to cooperate on cross border cyber crime, spam, the spreading of malware. This needs addressing on EU and world level. National institutions can not afford not to do so. Even if it is hard to give up a little national jurisdiction. There are in between forms, like coordination.


Let's push the boundaries for cyber threats back. It all starts with ambition. Experience shows that (the threat of) enforcement works. This isn't rocket science, it is about political will and insight.

By Wout de Natris, Consultant international cooperation cyber crime + trainer spam enforcement. More blog posts from Wout de Natris can also be read here.

Related topics: Cybercrime, Cybersecurity, Internet Governance, Law, Malware, Spam


Don't miss a thing – get the Weekly Wrap delivered to your inbox.


There are more than enough best practices out there with a national approach Suresh Ramasubramanian  –  May 20, 2013 10:00 PM PDT

Policy + tech + engagement / capacity building + ... all the usual.  Needs someone to take them out of powerpoint and pdf and implement them "boots on the ground".  It also needs active action against botmasters (and possibly political pressure against countries that harbour them)

To post comments, please login or create an account.

Related Blogs

Related News

Explore Topics

Dig Deeper

Mobile Internet

Sponsored by Afilias Mobile & Web Services

DNS Security

Sponsored by Afilias

IP Addressing

Sponsored by Avenue4 LLC


Sponsored by Verisign

Promoted Posts

Buying or Selling IPv4 Addresses?

Watch this video to discover how ACCELR/8, a transformative trading platform developed by industry veterans Marc Lindsey and Janine Goodman, enables organizations to buy or sell IPv4 blocks as small as /20s. more»

Industry Updates – Sponsored Posts

Join Neustar's Town Hall Meeting and Help Shape the Future Of .US

Verisign Named to the Online Trust Alliance's 2017 Audit and Honor Roll

Why the Record Number of Reverse Domain Name Hijacking UDRP Filings in 2016?

Attacks Decrease by 23 Precent in 1st Quarter While Peak Attack Sizes Increase: DDoS Trends Report

Leading Internet Associations Strengthen Cooperation

i2Coalition to Present Tucows CEO Elliot Noss With Internet Community Leadership Award

Verisign Releases Q4 2016 DDoS Trends Report: 167% Increase in Average Peak Attack from 2015 to 2016

Michele Neylon Appointed Chair Elect of i2Coalition

Verisign Q3 2016 DDoS Trends Report: User Datagram Protocol (UDP) Flood Attacks Continue to Dominate

2016 U.S. Election: An Internet Forecast

Government Guidance for Email Authentication Has Arrived in USA and UK

ValiMail Raises $12M for Its Email Authentication Service

Don't Gamble With Your DNS

Defending Against Layer 7 DDoS Attacks

Understanding the Risks of the Dark Web

New TLD? Make Sure It's Secure

Verisign Releases Q2 2016 DDoS Trends Report - Layer 7 DDoS Attacks a Growing Trend

How Savvy DDoS Attackers Are Using DNSSEC Against Us

Facilitating a Trusted Web Space for Financial Service Professionals

MarkMonitor Partners with CYREN to Deepen Visibility into Global Phishing Attacks