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80% of Spam Originating from Home PCs

The majority of spam -- as much as 80 per cent of all unsolicited marketing messages sent -- now emanates from residential ISP networks and home user PCs. This is due to the proliferation of spam trojans, bits of surreptitious malware code embedded in residential subscriber PCs by worms and spyware programs. Worm attacks are growing in frequency because they provide a fast means of infecting a vast number of computers with spam trojans in a very short period of time. It's no surprise that many service providers report an upsurge in spam traffic immediately following a worm attack. more

Can Technology Can Spam?

It seems to be impossible to implement a law against spam - unsolicited bulk email - without making a hash of it. At best, anti-spam laws are ineffective; at worst, they cause more problems than spam itself. Can technology fare any better? ...But despite this flurry of initiatives, we are yet to see a definitive answer to the spam problem. An Anti-Spam Technical Alliance has been formed by Microsoft, America Online, Yahoo! and EarthLink, but these companies continue to proffer competing solutions. Meanwhile, the technology being deployed in the spam wars is causing collateral damage, in the form of 'false positives' - email that is incorrectly categorised as spam, and so never reaches its intended recipient. more

Email, Privacy, and Engagement

After they finished the tenth installment of their enormous multi-volume history, The Story of Civilization, Will and Ariel Durant wrote a set of thirteen essays entitled The Lessons of History. I happened to pick up this volume yesterday; it's both slim and sweeping. The Durants loved history, and wanted to show their readership what waves and tensions and trends they perceived. It's not a great book, but it's an undeniably forceful one. One essay discusses the essential moral characteristics of individuals, listing six traits and providing "positive" and "negative" descriptions of ways in which people act. more

The Future of Email

While people may debate the death of email, there is no question that many email servers are already overloaded with spam. Current spam solutions are beginning to address the problem, but so far they all suffer from the arms race issue - as fast as we come up with new ways to fight spam, spammers are finding new ways to deliver it to us. While the functionality of email will certainly continue, the current system must change. When the change comes, it will deliver the future of email to Microsoft. more

Moving Target: Spammer Using Over 1000 Home Computers as DNS

Some individual appears to have hijacked more than a 1,000 home computers starting in late June or early July and has been installing a new Trojan Horse program on them. The Trojan allows this person to run a number of small websites on the hijacked home computers. These websites consists of only a few web pages and apparently produce income by directing sign-ups to for-pay porn websites through affiliate programs. Spam emails messages get visitors to come to the small websites.

To make it more difficult for these websites to be shut down, a single home computer is used for only 10 minutes to host a site. After 10 minutes, the IP address of the website is changed to a different home computer... more

Analyzing The Inbox of a Spammer's Domain

Consider this scenario: you need a domain name for your site so you go to your favorite domain registrar's website and upon a quick search find that your third choice is actually available! You quickly pull your credit card and register the name. Everything is good and you can't wait to have your new domain start pointing to your site and represent your official email address. But not so fast -- some of the recent events are revealing that, these days, when you are registering a domain name there is one more critical thing you need to do: check under the hood! more

Fight Spam With the DNS, Not the CIA

It seems like spam is in the news every day lately, and frankly, some of the proposed solutions seem either completely hare-brained or worse than the problem itself. I'd like to reiterate a relatively modest proposal I first made over a year ago: Require legitimate DNS MX records for all outbound email servers.

MX records are one component of a domain's Domain Name System (DNS) information. They identify IP addresses that accept inbound email for a particular domain name. To get mail to, say, linux.com, a mail server picks an MX record from linux.com's DNS information and attempts to deliver the mail to that IP address. If the delivery fails because a server is out of action, the delivering server may work through the domain's MX records until it finds a server that can accept the mail. Without at least one MX record, mail cannot be delivered to a domain.
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