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U.S. Sending More Than Half of All Spam (07/01/04)

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big surprise, the CAN-spam act isn't working

Junk mail host nations named and shamed

By John Leyden (john.leyden at theregister.co.uk)

Published Thursday 1st July 2004 16:13 GMT

Five countries are hosting the overwhelming majority - a staggering 99.68 per cent - of spammer websites, according to a study out yesterday.

Most spam that arrives in email boxes contains a URL to a website within an email, to allow users to buy spamvertised products online. While 49 countries around the world are hosting spammer websites, unethical hosting firms overwhelmingly operate from just a few global hotspots. Anti-spam vendors Commtouch reckons 73.58 per cent of the websites referenced within spam sent last month were hosted in China, a 4.5 per cent decrease from May. South Korea (10.91 per cent), the United States (9.47 per cent), the Russian Federation (3.5 per cent) and Brazil (2.23 per cent) made up the remainder of the "Axis of spam".

Anti-spam legislation and enforcement action tends to focus on people distributing spam rather than the organisations hiring spammers. Commtouch's survey - although it doesn't have much to say about shutting down spammer websites - at least gives one of the clearest indications we've seen to date on where these sites are located.

Meanwhile, the United States continues to lead as the main origin of spam, with nearly 55.69 per cent of all spam being sent from the U.S. South Korea (10.23 per cent), China (6.60 per cent), Brazil (3.35 per cent) and Canada (3.08 per cent) are other common sources of spam. The UK - source of 1.2 per cent of global spam - appears in 10th place in Commtouch's chart.

Product pitches

Offers for drugs (29.53 per cent), mortgage loans and refinance deals (9.68 per cent) and organ (I take it you mean penis - Ed) enlargement offers (7.05 per cent) topped the list of products spamvertised during first half of 2004, according to Commtouch. Viagra is the "King of spam" appearing in 14.1 per cent of the hundreds of millions of spam messages detected by Commtouch in the first half of 2004.

Over the same period, pornography and casino spam messages declined to rates of 3.1 per cent and 0.45 per cent of global junk mail, respectively. Commtouch reports that the bulk of spam during the first half of 2004 was written in English, with foreign languages employed in just 5.77 per cent of global spam.

Just under one in 10 spam messages (9.8 per cent) detected by Commtouch last month were complaint with recently introduced US anti-spam legislation, the CAN-spam Act. To be CAN-spam complaint email ads must have a non-deceptive subject line and the ability for users to unsubscribe from future messages, among other things.

Commtouch reports that 21.6 per cent of global spam messages included visible random characters in the subject, body or both. Sadly, it doesn't say how much of this is eleigible for classification as "spam poetry (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/06/17/spam_poetry/)".

Which is a shame.

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Right. See, I think the problem is, the CAN-spam was written, and maybe I'm just a moron, but I didn't see anything about how people report the spam, who they report it to and what they do to enforce the laws. In ALL the news reports and internet articles and TV news reports, NONE of them tell the consumer how to utilize this law.... we know to utilize murder laws we call the police, so WHO are the enforcers? I

It seems to me that the act is nothing but a fluffer to appease the public.... how can there be enforcement of this law, if no one knows who to send complaints of spam violations to?

Are we supposed to be sending spam to the FTC for process under CAN-spam? If so, WHY is this not advertised, you know... EDUCATING people?

I think what some ISPs like Verizon are doing is wise: If an IP is caught spamming, shut off access. The person has to contact their ISP to reinstate service.

i'll just keep reporting and sending spam to the FTC, until someone tells me who we're supposed to be reporting spam to for CAN-spam.

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It's not that difficult to close down an IP once you track it down and have amassed enough credible evidence. I just closed down a spammer as far away as the backward Romania.

The proble is that few people take the time to understand what it takes fight spam and put enough pressure on their ISPs to change the way they do business. I now have to ISPs that filter both spam and viruses, if I did not take the time to report them I would not even know about them. Yey I feel it is my responsability that as long as spammers chose to haras me (and million other internet users) I have to do my utmost to fight back. Most people fall in the trap of buying software which eventually is bypassed by clever spam and does nothing to fight spam.

As for reporting to FTC, I and others do it here. Do you think FTC will compasate any of us once the spammers are sued? I think not.

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As for reporting to FTC, I and others do it here. Do you think FTC will compasate any of us once the spammers are sued? I think not.

That's not really my concern... I'm just an email user, the spam isn't affecting my business in any way.

I guess I'm confused that since the government has made it illegal to send spam, wouldn't domestically sent mail be able to be tracked, by subpoena the ISP? One of the TOS is not partaking in criminal activity, so.... shouldn't we be able to stop spam from these IPs?

Also, we should use the IP/Host db (whatever it is) and simply block all IPs in Brazil, China and Korea, until the countries can fix their problems with security. In all honesty, how many legit emails have you received from either country? My tally is zero.

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<snip>

I guess I'm confused that since the government has made it illegal to send spam

<snip>

...Nope. They made it illegal to send spam that fails to follow certain rules. spam that follows the rules is legal but still spam.

<snip>

Also, we should use the IP/Host db (whatever it is) and simply block all IPs in Brazil, China and Korea, until the countries can fix their problems with security.

...Countries do not spam, spammers do. US spammers use machines in Brazil, China and Korea to send spam, as well as machines in the US. Brazilian, Chinese and Korean spammers send spam through machines in the US, as well as Brazilian, Chinese and Korean machines.

In all honesty, how many legit emails have you received from either country?  My tally is zero.

...Well, I regularly correspond with work colleagues in Brazil. If all e-mail from them were blocked, I guess we could use the telephone but that would be needlessly inconveniencing us. :) <g>

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