10 spammers?

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Security Pro News reports that according to Spamhaus 80% of spam is sourced by 10 spammers:
The Spamhaus list of the world's worst hardcore spammers include people who push porn, pharmaceuticals, and stock scams into inboxes everywhere. Spamhaus estimated that as much as 80 percent of all the junk coming to inboxes starts with one of the top ten.

A multi-aliased spammer known variously as Alex or Alexey operating out of the Ukraine tops the list. Spamhaus believes he works with a Russian spam gang called Pavka/Artofit, which utilizes a vast number of zombied PCs to churn out the junk mail.


Four of the top ten spammers are from Russia, and one from the Ukraine works with the Russians. Two are from the US, with the others from Israel, Hong Kong, and Canada. The Russian government could make a big impact on global spam if they attacked their home-based offenders more aggressively, but years of spam coming from Russian addresses has shown they have little interest in doing so.

It's sort of surprising that there are so few spammers serving what's obviously a hot market with fairly low barriers to entry. This raises the obvious question of why. One possibility—especially for Russian-based spammers—is that they're tied into organized crime, which enforces the (pseudo)monopoly. If that's true, actually arresting those guys probably wouldn't have much of an impact, since it wouldn't be that hard to build up a new operation with a different front man.


10 spammers spamming,

9 phishers phishing,

8 bloggers blogging...


Sorry. They're already selling Stollen and chestnuts in the grocery store, and I got carried away.

Serious comment: Arresting spammers will stop spam the way arresting drug dealers has stopped drug dealing.

It's good to arrest spammers.
But it won't stop spam.

Technical solutions will help as well, and we'll continue to pursue those.

The only things that could stop spam would be

  1. making the economics no longer work, or
  2. closing the email system, so people only get mail from people they know.
Unfortunately, I can't imagine a way to implement the former that doesn't have side effects that many of us don't want. And most people today clearly don't want the latter — though it's not clear that that won't change as the spam volume increases.

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