Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

China Cleans Up Spam Problem

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the i'm-feeling-much-better dept.

Spam 69

angry tapir writes "It's been a few years coming, but it looks like China may finally be getting a handle on its spam problem. Once the largest source of the world's spam, China has been gradually fading off the list of the world's top spam-producers. Right now Cisco Systems' IronPort group ranks it at number 18 in terms of spam-producing countries. That's a big drop from two years ago, when it consistently ranked in the top five."

cancel ×

69 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

I hope so, because it shouldn't have been hard. (4, Funny)

intellitech (1912116) | more than 3 years ago | (#35337240)

It's not like they didn't have the existing hardware and infrastructure for a huge firewall or something.

Re:I hope so, because it shouldn't have been hard. (1, Insightful)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 3 years ago | (#35337518)

It also helps if you have the sort of government where you can just summarily execute anyone suspected of spamming.
Everybody can get on board with that, right?

Re:I hope so, because it shouldn't have been hard. (0, Flamebait)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35337702)

It also helps if you have the sort of government where you can just summarily execute anyone

Where would this be, pray? Because you are certainly not talking about China. Of course there is the possibility that you don't know what "summary execution" actually means, but my money is on the bet that you're just talking out of your arse.

Re:I hope so, because it shouldn't have been hard. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35337824)

No u

Re:I hope so, because it shouldn't have been hard. (2)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35338222)

Of course there is the possibility that you don't know what "summary execution" actually means.

Isn't that when you post a scathing, flaming reply based on only the slashdot summary, without RTFA?

Re:I hope so, because it shouldn't have been hard. (1)

mrax (1825176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35337948)

Like The Great Firewall of China?

Re:I hope so, because it shouldn't have been hard. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35339288)

woooosh!

didn't it come from the states? (1)

jappleng (1805148) | more than 3 years ago | (#35337262)

I feel like a old slashdot article from last year (yes somehow that's old) claimed that most spam came from the states. I couldn't find the article but I did find this after googling it: http://www.infoniac.com/hi-tech/most-of-spam-comes-from-the-usa-says-sophoslabs.html [infoniac.com]

Re:didn't it come from the states? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35337332)

From the article:

...the U.S. remains the top-spamming country and the source of about one-fifth of the world's spam.

Note that "one-fifth". Lots of bots here but more in the rest of the world. They are managed mostly from Russia, of course.

Re:didn't it come from the states? (2)

jrumney (197329) | more than 3 years ago | (#35337352)

And that article was a dupe from the 2001 when everyone started blocking mail from Korea because it was mostly spam. The US was the origin of the first spam, and has constantly been the biggest producer of spam since then, no matter what people's perceptions are. Currently Turkey seems to be on the up, but you can bet that it is still well behind the US.

Re:didn't it come from the states? (3, Insightful)

egamma (572162) | more than 3 years ago | (#35337672)

And that article was a dupe from the 2001 when everyone started blocking mail from Korea because it was mostly spam. The US was the origin of the first spam, and has constantly been the biggest producer of spam since then, no matter what people's perceptions are. Currently Turkey seems to be on the up, but you can bet that it is still well behind the US.

The US is also the origin of the first non-spam email, and has constantly been the biggest producer of non-spam emails. Simple fact of the matter is, the US has the most computers, and the most infected computers.

Re:didn't it come from the states? (3, Insightful)

PseudonymousBraveguy (1857734) | more than 3 years ago | (#35338564)

According to the (slightly out-of-date) article, the whole of Europe sends less spam than the US. I'm quite sure there are more computers in Europe than in the US, as the population is more than 60% larger (only counting EU. The spam level in the article is likely about the whole continent, which has about 130% the population of the US), and the developement level is similar.

Re:didn't it come from the states? (1)

TFGeditor (737839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35345114)

I have been firewalling China (the whole world, actually, except North American/ARIN registrants) for years on my company's servers. That alone cuts our spam load by 75-80 percent. RBLs and other measures take care of most of the rest, and server logs indicate less than 3 percent of spam gets through. That seems to be the equilibrium point between blocking spam and false positives.

Yes it does (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 3 years ago | (#35338630)

It's really annoying. ISPs like Comcast forbid you from running any types of servers in the TOS, but don't even bother to block outbound port 25 connections. It's the worst of both worlds; legitimate server operators are banned, but they won't raise a finger to stop botnet spamming originating on their networks.

All they would have to to do is block port 25 by default, and say "call us" if you need to run a server. Spam would drop drop dramatically, and home servers would be possible.

Re:Yes it does (1)

heypete (60671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35339348)

Are you sure they don't block outbound port 25? Searching for "comcast port 25 blocking" seems to suggest that they are, in fact doing so, and have been since 2004.

Cox, one of Comcast's major competitors, also blocks port 25 on residential lines. Naturally, connections to port 587 go through without any problems. They also block inbound port 25 and port 80, which prevent people from running a home mail or web server, even if they use Cox's "smarthost" outbound mail server.

I would also like an "opt-in" option for outbound (and inbound!) port 25. Home servers are quite useful, and one would presume that someone asking for a port being opened would be Somewhat Clueful.

Re:Yes it does (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 3 years ago | (#35339616)

When I was with Comcast in 2009, I had no problems sending outbound data on port 25. I had a lot of mail dropped/bounced either because my IP block in a blacklist, which is common for a residential IP, or because I couldn't ask Comcast to create a correct reverse DNS PTR record for me. However, there was nothing on Comcast's side that was blocking traffic.

Re:Yes it does (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 3 years ago | (#35340688)

They've been blocking port 25 in problem areas since 2004; AFAIK, they only block when they've got a reported problem (by their definition).

Re:Yes it does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35340856)

It's really annoying. ISPs like Comcast forbid you from running any types of servers in the TOS, but don't even bother to block outbound port 25 connections.

All they would have to to do is block port 25 by default, and say "call us" if you need to run a server. Spam would drop drop dramatically, and home servers would be possible.

No that wouldn't drop spam dramatically.

Most spam is from bot networks these days.

These bots spam under the radar by sending on average less than one spam per hour thru your ISP's mail server with ports and protocols and sometimes credentials gleaned from your own software.

On or two spams per hour, times hundreds of thousands of machines spread across the world adds up to a real pile of spam.
Bots don't even attempt direct connection via port 25 anymore.

Maybe (3, Funny)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35337268)

They're just discovering outsourcing.

Re:Maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35337292)

> They're just discovering outsourcing.

bullseye! :)

China (and HK) own 1 trillion of US debt.. they don't listen to you... most of them don't even understand your language... lol...

Re:Maybe (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35337374)

We still have the nukes that will make glass of their commie asses.

Re:Maybe (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35337426)

>> China (and HK) own 1 trillion of US debt.. they don't listen to you...
>>
> We still have the nukes that will make glass of their commie asses.

if you can afford it

Re:Maybe (4, Insightful)

sjwest (948274) | more than 3 years ago | (#35337314)

China is still happy to host spammers websites - yes .cn got cleaned up after being big chinese cash cow, but .ru is damm popular with chinese 'hosting' firms.

Spam is a two sided operation - the mail, and the site.

email? (0, Flamebait)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35337370)

People still use email? Or are they talking about usenet spam, which unfortunately still blasts out? Hold on while I check my gopher server.

From talking to "non techies" email is pretty near dead outside the corporate world. Person to person text is now conducted exclusively via SMS or facebook wall postings. Personal to business transactions (site registrations, etc) are done with gmail and email is otherwise not used anymore.

Re:email? (2)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35337564)

E-mail is free and can pass more than a single sentence, unlike SMS.

Facebook is like TV: no one I give a damn about uses either of them.

Re:email? (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 3 years ago | (#35337700)

In fact only one in ten use Facebook.

And I'd hazzard a guess that the majority of them are under 25 years old.

Email is still a great tool.

Re:email? (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#35337982)

Email is great because its decentralised, facebook is a monopoly controlled by a single entity...

email is NOT dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35337744)

I apologize for raining on your 2.0 parade, but "person to person text is" not conducted exclusively via SMS or facebook. Is SMS/facebook/twitter/etc. starting to eclipse email? sure.

But until I can readily and cheaply setup my own Facebook wall server on a Linux box in my closet, email is NOT dead. That which you speak utilizes closed protocols to communicate (exception is SMS). They're reliant on the companies they operate on... email protocols have been around since the dawn of the internet and are available for everyone, because their industry standards

Re:email is NOT dead (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#35340494)

Facebook uses a version of XMPP, and you can at least download open clients.

Non techies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35337866)

Email is far from dead as far as I've seen, even for non-techies. It is not the essential tool it was 5 years ago, but it has become just another tool in the everyman's communications toolbox.

SMS can't be used for more than quick updates or "hiya" conversations. And not everyone is on Facebook/twitter, or wants to be even in the non-techie real world!

And many elderly who have been on the web are more apt to keep up to date on email, than Facebook/etc. Trying to get granny onto email is tough, but trying to get her to keep up with her facebook-savvy grandsons (or to accept an friend request, for that matter) is a tougher task.

Email is falling fast from the thrown of the "only digital communication tool", and becoming just one of many tools. And many people will still keep it as their dominant form of communications simply because they don't need the "latest/greatest" communications tool.

Re:email? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35338088)

buahahaha. You think email is dead: you should talk to the 10,000 very unhappy students and staff at my university whose email has been down since Thursday. We didn't realise quite how often we actually checked it.

Re:email? (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | more than 3 years ago | (#35340694)

> You think email is dead: you should talk to the 10,000 very unhappy students

what about those 150,000 gmail users that got their account reset? are they unhappy?

Re:email? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35338604)

You need to go back on your medication.

Re:email? (1)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 3 years ago | (#35338718)

No, I think he needs to get *off* whatever meds he's on :p

Re:email? (1)

TheOldFart (578597) | more than 3 years ago | (#35339250)

My guess it is infant Ritalin...

Re:email? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35340268)

From talking to "non techies" email is pretty near dead outside the corporate world.

That's right! Believe that! Tell all your "non-techie" friends!

Maybe September isn't eternal after all...

Dubious (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35337428)

I don't know where they are getting their sources but their listed references say nothing about chinas ranking. See
http://www.spamhaus.org/statistics/countries.lasso
China is still number 2.

Ha! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35337552)

I knew that seeding the word-salad text databases used by the spammers with strings like "harmonious Falun Gong", "Independent Taiwan", and "h4rb/\L Tiananmen Square" would pay off one day!

Putting that in perspective... (2)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#35337554)

China has more Internet users [internetworldstats.com] than any other nation (420 million), so being down at number 18 for spam seems quite good.

Re:Putting that in perspective... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35338492)

China has more Internet users [internetworldstats.com] than any other nation (420 million), so being down at number 18 for spam seems quite good.

Well, to be a bit flippant: it's easy to solve many problems when you can simply send the trouble makers off to "re-education camps" or just shoot them. Having an authoritative form of government makes removing "disharmonious" elements of society much easier.

If they're this effective in removing spam, perhaps they can start working on the hacking attempts into the networks of foreign governments (like Canada's finance ministry just a short while ago).

Re:Putting that in perspective... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35339072)

Please link to proof (however small) that China is sending spammers to "re-education camps" and/or killing them.

Re:Putting that in perspective... (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35339200)

Like Canada's finance ministry just a short while ago.

To be fair, we just passed an emergency vote to allow him to upgrade his Tandy 1000.

He should receive a 256KB RAM upgrade in four to six weeks. Hopefully the "99.999943% recommended" rating of seller CheapHKRAM432 on eBay is trustworthy.

it's all relative, really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35339522)

perhaps the spam volume has not decreased from china, only that volume has increased from other regions.

Re:Putting that in perspective... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35340234)

I think that the number of hosts vulnerable to being turned into bots is what matters, not the number of users. A large fraction (maybe a majority) of China's users work from internet cafe so there are likely to be many users per host.

Coincidence... (5, Funny)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35337556)

Is it a coincidence that google "loses" 150.000 GMail accounts, and suddenly China cleans up it's spam problem?

Re:Coincidence... (3, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35337736)

Yes?

Re:Coincidence... (1)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 3 years ago | (#35338776)

Now, if Google were to lose a bunch of accounts and Nigeria were to simultaneously clean up its spam problem, I'd be less likely to call coincidence :p

Google alone among the major free email providers does not include x-orginating-ip info (unless you send through gmail over smtp, in which case they do, for some reason), which makes filtering more expensive for people who see no reason to accept any email from 41/8 or other netblocks allocated to Africa. Gmail: a 419ers best friend.

Thanks a lot, Google.

Re:Coincidence... (1)

Chuckles08 (1277062) | more than 3 years ago | (#35338156)

Mystic Mirror says, "Ask again later".

Just a matter of distribution... and then money (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35338020)

Most spam is sent out by botnets anyways, which of course have compromised PCs from all over the world contributing to them. China cleaned up a few (million) boxes, but other 2nd and 3rd world countries have been coming online in larger numbers to make up for the loss.

In the end, its all for naught, however. As long as the spammers can make money sending out spam, they will find a way to do it. We can play international whac-a-mole with security and filtering settings but the spammers will continue to find ways around it because it is what they are paid for.

The only people who are genuinely making a difference in the fight against spam are the ones who actively work to disconnect the spammers from their revenue streams; everyone else is either contributing to the problem or armchair quarterbacking.

Re:Just a matter of distribution... and then money (0)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35339862)

2nd world countries? Uhhh...newsflash, the Soviet Union and its satellites collapsed 20 years ago, maybe you didn't get the memo?

Re:Just a matter of distribution... and then money (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35340464)

2nd world countries? Uhhh...newsflash, the Soviet Union and its satellites collapsed 20 years ago

We can call them "former 2nd world countries", or "former Soviet Bloc countries" if you prefer. Although doesn't the concept of a "third world" become a little muddy if there is no second world?

maybe you didn't get the memo?

I got the memo, alright. Although some might argue that Belarus never did...

Good post (-1, Offtopic)

simran4444 (2005690) | more than 3 years ago | (#35338680)

I like this post .thnks for informations.please visit http://www.hotmodelindelhi.com/ [hotmodelindelhi.com]

Our statistics (4, Interesting)

dskoll (99328) | more than 3 years ago | (#35338808)

Our stats show China at #8. The top 10 for us are:

  • United States at about 33%
  • Russia at about 9.5%
  • India at about 8.8%(Maybe there is something to the outsourcing joke?
  • Canada at 6%
  • Ukraine at 4.4%
  • Romania at 2.4%
  • Brazil at 2.4%
  • China at 1.3%
  • Vietnam at 1.3%
  • Poland at 1.3%

    The last three are all 1.3% because of rounding, but the order really is China - Vietnam - Poland.

Rankings are rank. (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#35339146)

OK, not to cast this accomplishment in a bad light; but I wish rankings weren't used so often for this kind of thing.

The trouble with ranks is that everybody could be really close to the same number, and the rankings are just statistical noise.

Somebody else posted the percentage list upon which the rankings are based. That's better, but you still have to consider the number of hosts. A country with a small number of hosts could rank really low, and still have a large percentage of spambots.

China is a huge country, but I'm not sure how many hosts it has. The US may have more, but I doubt that's enough to justify our huge percentage of spams.

IMHO, the USA antispam people and the people that publish these rankings both have work to do.

Re:Rankings are rank. (0)

inkscapee (1994086) | more than 3 years ago | (#35340432)

"For all intensive purposes, "whom" is no longer a word. That begs the question, "who cares"?" Maybe you're being funny and I'm too thick to get it-- the correct term is "intents and purpose". Though intensive makes sense in a Joey Tribbiano-sort of way.

Complete opposite (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35339156)

I've never had spam from China before, but in the last few months it keeps getting through all the filters of the Web hosting company I use.

Never have I had so much spam, and it always begins with "We are a China-based..." It should be easy enough to filter that, no?

Re:Complete opposite (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 3 years ago | (#35339764)

BTW, why is it so hard to completely block spam in foreign languages and/or scripts ? I get tons of spam in russian and chinese and I've tried plenty of filters in kmail with no success. If the message is displayed in chinese, the mailer knows it's in chinese, so it COULD delete it instead. What's the setting for that ?!?

Re:Complete opposite (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#35340184)

> What's the setting for that ?

Spamassassin.

According to ProjectHoneyPot.org (1)

heypete (60671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35339512)

China isn't even on the list for the last 30 days:

#1 India (18.3%)
#2 Brazil (9.5%)
#3 Russia (7.0%)
#4 Ukraine (5.1%)
#5 Vietnam (3.9%)
#6 Italy (3.3%)
#7 Germany (3.1%)
#8 Thailand (2.8%)
#9 Kazakhstan (2.5%)
#10 Romania (2.5%)
#11 Colombia (2.5%)
#12 Argentina (2.3%)
#13 Indonesia (2.3%)
#14 South Korea (2.2%)
#15 Taiwan (2.0%)
#16 United States (1.9%)
#17 Great Britain (1.9%)
#18 Poland (1.8%)
#19 Morocco (1.7%)
#20 Pakistan (1.6%)
#21 Peru (1.5%)
#22 Spain (1.4%)
#23 Israel (1.4%)
#24 Saudi Arabia (1.4%)
#25 Chile (1.3%)

Source [projecthoneypot.org] . (Click "top 25", then select "last 30 days".)

For all time, the top 5 are:
#1 China (10.1%)
#2 Brazil (8.9%)
#3 United States (7.4%)
#4 Germany (6.5%)
#5 Russia (6.0%)

We're Number One! (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 3 years ago | (#35339572)

Down to #18, SHOW THEM!!! We need to retain our leadership in something, eh? Perhaps, we can offer bulk mail rates for spammers, like the USPS. BTW, I noticed that the Chinese are a little on the lite side, weight-wise, when compared to our corn-fed-beef-fed Americans. There may be more of them, but as a whole we probably outweigh them. And did I mention that we have a better Super Bowl? Now, don't even get me started about NASCAR . . .

Re:We're Number One! (1)

inkscapee (1994086) | more than 3 years ago | (#35340442)

Down to #18, SHOW THEM!!! We need to retain our leadership in something, eh? Perhaps, we can offer bulk mail rates for spammers, like the USPS. BTW, I noticed that the Chinese are a little on the lite side, weight-wise, when compared to our corn-fed-beef-fed Americans. There may be more of them, but as a whole we probably outweigh them. And did I mention that we have a better Super Bowl? Now, don't even get me started about NASCAR . . .

Sad, isn't it. If it's any consolation we're #1 in infant mortality amongst industrialized nations. USA!

SMS spam down...way down (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35339818)

Speaking as a China Mobile customer for some years...I used to get 2-5 SMS spam per day. This has dropped to zero for the last six months or so. Actually, today, I got a spam and was surprised by it...and was surprised by the fact that I was surprised. A big advantage to an authoritarian government is that it can make decisions and then implement them. It makes messy representative government look shabby by comparison. The things you can get done when The Smart People are in charge...

Instead of spam, now it's SSH brute-forcing (1)

Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35340084)

China still seems to be the number one source of bots searching for valid logins on my ssh servers though. Followed, for some odd reason, by Brazil.

Re:Instead of spam, now it's SSH brute-forcing (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 3 years ago | (#35340786)

That's because the ones from China aren't usually bots.
I set up a script that runs an uncloaked nmap whenever the attempted ssh logons from a single IP hits a threshold; the attempts from India and Brazil just keep on pounding away until they're done, but the ones from China stop within 10 seconds of the start of my nmap probe.

one man's spam is another man's... (1)

miserere nobis (1332335) | more than 3 years ago | (#35341638)

Too bad in China, "spam" worthy of blocking not only includes "want to get cheap pills / anatomical improvements?" emails, but also "want to go protest government policy?" emails. Not sure I like the government getting better at blocking the former if it is a byproduct of attempts to more effectively block the latter.

Hotmail & Yahoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35342090)

Most SPAM I am seeing at the moment is coming from Hotmail & Yahoo mail servers. The makes me wonder if their captcha has been hacked.

Blocked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35346260)

Long ago made a list of IP blocks that were spamming my servers. China was tops. I blocked the IP addresses in China, and similar places. Cut the spam problem dramatically. Frankly they have little to offer.

China has done the right thing: clean up botnets (1)

Botnet Tracker (2009202) | more than 3 years ago | (#35386992)

We all know that 80% of global spam are sent by botnets. So the most effective way to reduce spam is to detect botnets, and clean up those malware-infected computers. That is exactly what China has been doing since 2009.

China government put two orders, "Notification Guidelines for Internet Security Incidents" and "Detection and Response Mechanism against Trojans and Botnets", into effect in June 2009. This builds the framework for all stakeholders to work together to track and dismantle botnets. The spam reduction we see today is just a by-product of their botnet mitigation effort.

While China is still high in my daily botnet chart [blogspot.com] , botnets within China has decreased quite alot. Eliminating malware-infected computers is the sure way to cut spam.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>