Jul 19, 2012

Could spambots finally be eliminated soon?

Spam, which is one of the things I hate most, took a hit today with the shutdown of the C&C servers for the Grum spam botnet.  Great!  From what I've read, this was the 3rd largest botnet and was responsible for about 20% of spam messages worldwide.  The servers were located in Russia and Ukraine, which seems to have been a pretty safe location for spammers up to now.  Are Russia and Ukraine finally on board with stopping spam?  If they are (or can be convinced to be), could this actually be the end of the massive spam botnet?   

I certainly hope so! Spam is so incredibly annoying. However, I temper my enthusiasm with the realization that perhaps they will simply move to another country. Spammers always seem to slip through the cracks and move on to some other place to operate from.

Let's hope that this will at least put a dent in their efforts for a while. A spam-free word would be wonderful indeed! I hope it happens, but I'm not getting my hopes up. They remind me of cockroaches. Every time you think you're rid of them, they come back.

Well, that is one down at least.  If just the biggest spammers can be eliminated it would make a huge difference.  I'm surprised that there was a successful effort to shut down servers in Ukraine and Russia, to be honest.  


I don't know much about Ukraine, but I have a little experience dealing with Russian businesses and government bureaucracy.  All I can say to people that are going to try to get consistent cooperation from Russia to fight spammers is, "Good luck."


Russia and Ukraine have been pretty safe places for spammers and other miscreants on The InterWebs for a long time, and I have found trying to get a Russian company to do anything that doesn't result in an immediate gain for them is a challenge.  There was a foundry in Russia that was making air cooled cylinder heads with cooling fins, and they after they cast the heads, they would literally throw them into a big wooden box on a pallet.  The result was cracked and broken cooling fins, scored sealing surfaces and a lot of parts that wouldn't pass the lowest quality control standards.  It took significant effort to get them to just use a wooden parts rack and somewhat gently set the heads on the rack instead of tossing them 4-5 feet through the air, and this was something that would result in significant and immediate benefit to the company.  On the government front, about 10 years ago I flew into Russia and was forced to pay a border guard over US$500 to get my perfectly fine paperwork approved so I could enter the country.  I like quite a few things about Russia, it is a very interesting and distinctive place, but it can also be extremely frustrating to deal with when you are used to EU and American standards.  I will be surprised if it becomes the norm that efforts to shut down spam servers in Russia are successful.  There is always hope, I suppose.

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