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US and China Top List of Spam-Relaying Countries

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the don't-forget-the-eggs dept.

Security 92

jcatcw writes "On Thursday Sophos released a new set of global statistics pointing out the biggest spam relaying countries in the world. Toping the list between April and June of this year were the US and China. 'Sophos senior security consultant Carole Theriault said that while the U.S. remains the top spam dog, there results show an urgent need for countries to join together and take global action. "Once a machine is compromised, it is often used to send out spam for a variety of campaigns," she said. "In a matter of seconds, we can see compromised systems send messages on a dozen different topics from stock scams to diet drugs." Paul Ducklin, Sophos Asia Pacific head of technology, said that spammers are ready to "borrow" any computer illegally to send e-mail regardless of the location.'"

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92 comments

Great Firewall needs Reconfigured. (3, Insightful)

Gabrill (556503) | about 7 years ago | (#19947045)

Too bad that "Great Firewall" doesn't work both ways. Shame, really.

Re:Great Firewall needs Reconfigured. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19947363)

Yes, because choking Chinese freedom to communicate OUT is worth making sure you get less spam.

Seriously, think before you say shit like that.

Re:Seriously, think before you say **** like that. (1)

Gabrill (556503) | about 7 years ago | (#19951459)

Seriously, either make your point in person, or realize that I made a joke [wikipedia.org] . Click on the linky if you are still confused.

Re:Great Firewall needs Reconfigured. (1)

houghi (78078) | about 7 years ago | (#19947989)

Too bad that if it would work, the US won't use one to protect the rest of the world.

Re:Great Firewall needs Reconfigured. (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | about 7 years ago | (#19950807)

Great Firewall needs Reconfigured.
I don't thought the Chinese government wanted to went to the trouble of this to make sure the rest of the world won't got their spam.

Europe getting in on the action too (3, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 7 years ago | (#19947089)

If you want to count the EU as one country(which the EU seems to want to do for things that benefit it, but seem wont to do when the statistics are less than flattering) Europe reigns supreme:

Europe now has six entries in the Dirty Dozen, which when combined, account for even more spam-relaying than the U.S.

Re:Europe getting in on the action too (2, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | about 7 years ago | (#19947171)

You do realise that the report was released by Sophos, don't you? This isn't a governmental thing, so trying to make it sound like the EU is trying to paint itself in a better light isn't really a valid point this time.

(Incidentally, Sophos is a British company, and we Brits are generally somewhat Eurosceptic; it's not at all surprising to see them not consider the EU as a whole. Mind you, the whole "not being a single country" thing might have something to do with it too...)

Re:Europe getting in on the action too (2, Informative)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | about 7 years ago | (#19947181)

EU is not Europe
Just like the USA is not America

(but that doesn't change the fact that there are 5 EU countries in that list totaling to 17.9%, less than the USA)

Re:Europe getting in on the action too (0)

tha_mink (518151) | about 7 years ago | (#19947213)

Just like the USA is not America
What? Yes it is. It might not be NORTH America, but it's America.

Re:Europe getting in on the action too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19947925)

It's in America, but it's not America. Just like your heart in your chest, but it's not your chest.
 
Is the fog starting to clear now, or are you simply too obese [medicalnewstoday.com] to care?

Re:Europe getting in on the action too (1)

tha_mink (518151) | about 7 years ago | (#19953815)

I suppose we could argue semantics [wikipedia.org] all day but in the end, you'd still be an AC cunt after it's all said and done....

Re:Europe getting in on the action too (1)

MrNaz (730548) | about 7 years ago | (#19949997)

Wow, so all those jokes about Canada being just another state were actually true?

I bet that 99.9% is *aimed* at America... (0, Redundant)

Joce640k (829181) | about 7 years ago | (#19947375)

I bet that 99.9% of spam is *aimed* at America...

I mean I'm certainly not in a position to take advantage of a cheap USA mortgage and my TV isn't jammed with adverts for erection pills (I wouldn't even know what "cialis" was if not for the spam...)

Re:Europe getting in on the action too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19947417)

Don't you dare lump Canada in and call it America! America refers to the one and only stenchpot of North America: the USA. An American is from the USA, and Canadians and Mexicans are from their respective countries.

Re:Europe getting in on the action too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19947943)

Those zany Canadians!

You need to set aside that inferiority/jealousy thing there, buddy, it's ruining your life.

Mexicans being from their respective country? I'm not so sure. If you did a census, you might find more of them had snuck into the United States illegally than are still in their respective country.

But of course, that's why we have more applicants for immigration than we have available visas, and why millions more than that sneak in illegally: because America is such a crappy place.

Oh, and next time you need a medical procedure and don't want to wait six months for it, don't bother coming down here and enduring the "stench." You can stay home and die waiting.

Re:Europe getting in on the action too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19947227)

As I pointed out in the other comment, there are only five European countries in that list. Ofcourse, there are 20 more E.U. members not in the top 12 but who would contribute to the E.U. total. Still, the population of the E.U. is about 400M versus 300M for the US and 1300M for China, so this picture still isn't very flattering for the US (although if you want to divide by population, South Korea leads the pack, followed by Poland).

Re:Europe getting in on the action too (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 7 years ago | (#19947431)

The European results are skewed because they have far greater broadband penetration than the USA.

Re:Europe getting in on the action too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19947533)

I bet that 99.9% of spam is *aimed* at America...

I mean I'm certainly not in a position to take advantage of a cheap USA mortgage and my TV isn't jammed with adverts for erection pills (I wouldn't even know what "cialis" was if not for the spam...)

The European results are skewed because they have far greater broadband penetration than the USA.


Are you going somewhere with this?

Re:Europe getting in on the action too (1)

Alan Doherty (87875) | about 7 years ago | (#19950415)

>>The European results are skewed because they have far greater broadband penetration than the USA.
>Are you going somewhere with this?

he's pointing out that bot infected-machine isnt directly related to rate of spam
its actually 33.6*modem-users+128*isdn/slow-broadband-users+256 *fast-broadband-users is related to number of spams
so a small number of spams from a country with much modem use means many more bot-infected pc's than the same number from a simmilarly populated contry where everyone is on broadband

simple maths really

Re:Europe getting in on the action too (1)

iago-vL (760581) | about 7 years ago | (#19955313)

Interesting theory but you missed the key factor: dialup people are on when they're using the Internet (maybe, an hour or two a day?) whereas broadband people are on as long as their computer is turned on (up to 24 hours a day). So broadband people just have more time to send spam once their computer is owned up.

Re:Europe getting in on the action too (1)

GnuDiff (705847) | about 7 years ago | (#19947399)

> (which the EU seems to want to do for things that benefit it, but seem wont to do when the statistics are less than flattering)

Well, that is because EU is a union of a type which is pretty rare (if not unique) historically. Within EU there are (countries) proponents of the view that it should be more like a single country - including common foreign policy, for example, and those who want it to be as divided as possible, and only use EU for their own (typically, economical) goals. Depending on which people are in charge on which commissions, these things shift all the time.

Re:Europe getting in on the action too (1)

evildogeye (106313) | about 7 years ago | (#19949777)

While Europe may want to be perceived as one country for trading purposes, this sort of data is so much more interesting to see on a country to country level. Each European country has such a unique culture, set of laws, and place on the Internet, that grouping them together would be somewhat pointless.

No Such Country (1)

andersh (229403) | about 7 years ago | (#19958679)

If you want to count the EU as one country

The EU is NOT a country and does NOT represent Europe as a whole. It is in fact a group of countries - and only represents 27 countries out some 47 European nations! I realise not many Americans know this but the EU is not a federal nation like the US. The EU is simply a group of cooperating nations.

And as for the statistics you were refering to - it tends to be popular to view them country vs EU group but there is no such country all the same. The EU has some of the largest economies so it's more interesting than say the poorest ex-communist non-EU European nation. You could find statistics that features European countries, and the US, versus the OECD average. That does not make the OECD a country!

Europe now has six entries in the Dirty Dozen

This would be the only correct thing in your post - except Russia really should not be included in the European group for obvious reasons such as lacking democracy, terrible legal environment, organised crime and emerging economy status. Russia might belong to Europe for cultural, historical and geographical reasons - but not for social, political and economical reasons! Mexico is close to the US - but not exactly on even terms!

Spam output (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19947091)

U.S. and China being first is no surprise because you expect spam levels to match the Gross National Product of countries. If you divide by the GNP then South Korea and Poland are the ones that stand out.

Re:Spam output (1)

Joaz Banbeck (1105839) | about 7 years ago | (#19947147)

I expect the spam levels to match the gross national stupidity. ( Measured by the number of people who have acomputer and think that is an appliance that they can use without understanding. )

Re:Spam output (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19948391)

tpnet.pl are the number 1 EU spammer as far as I can tell.

When an ISP has a spam problem that big and does nothing, they may as well be sending it themselves.

Spam relaying? Of course! (1)

Valacosa (863657) | about 7 years ago | (#19947127)

Of course they're high in the list of spam relaying countries. They are on the butt end of a lot of spam.

It's because the people in countries sending the spam know who the real ousted prince of Nigeria is.

A more readable overview (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19947161)

From the article, it seems the list looks like this: (The article didn't bother to include an actual, readable list)

   1 U.S.         19.6%
   1 China        19.6%
   3 South-Korea   6.5%
   4 Poland        4.8%
   5 Germany       4.2%
   6 Brazil        4.1%
   7 France        3.3%
   8 Russia        3.1%
   9 Turkey        2.9%
  10 U.K.          2.8%
  11 Italy         2.8%
  12 India         2.5%
     (others)     23.8%

The article states that the US and China have the exact same percentage, even though their numbers suggest that they measured in tens of percents. Isn't that a bit too much of a coincidence?

Also, they mention Europe tops the list if seperate countries are lumped together; however, if I collapse the 5 (not 6) E.U. members I get this list:

  1 U.S.         19.6%
  1 China        19.6%
  3 E.U.         17.9%
  4 South-Korea   6.5%
  5 Brazil        4.1%
  6 Russia        3.1%
  7 Turkey        2.9%
  8 India         2.5%

So I wonder what country they added to Europe; Russia? Or maybe Turkey?

Re:A more readable overview (1)

JamesRose (1062530) | about 7 years ago | (#19948297)

They almost definitely wrongly counted Turkey...

However ~23% is unaccounted for, and the countries in the EU are:
-- Austria
-- Belgium
-- Bulgaria
-- Cyprus
-- Czech Republic
-- Denmark
-- Estonia
-- Finland
-- France
-- Germany
-- Greece
-- Hungary
-- Ireland
-- Italy
-- Latvia
-- Lithuania
-- Luxembourg
-- Malta
-- Netherlands, The
-- Poland
-- Portugal
-- Romania
-- Slovakia
-- Slovenia
-- Spain
-- Sweden
-- United Kingdom

May I suggest that the countries that don't appear in the top 10 make up for a significant amount of the missing % and so the EU does infact containt the largest percentage.

Re:A more readable overview (1)

e_AltF4 (247712) | about 7 years ago | (#19949971)

> They almost definitely wrongly counted Turkey___

I humbly dare to disagree.

> May I suggest that the countries that don't appear in the top 10 make up for a significant amount of the missing % and so the EU does infact containt the largest percentage.

The list is called "list of spam-relaying countries", that's probably why it's grouped by ___ drumroll ___ COUNTRIES :-)

my mail server - last 7 months by country code

CC ___ PCT
------------
US ___ 25.7
TR ___ 7.0
KR ___ 4.8
FR ___ 4.7
DE ___ 4.5
GB ___ 4.4
PL ___ 3.3
BR ___ 2.9
IN ___ 2.5
CN ___ 2.4

Not sure why China is that low (rigid blocking
by CIDR: rules in postfix ?) and Turkey
is that high (i've been told that my last name
obviously is a common turkish name)

customer server - last 4 months by country code

CC ___ PCT
=============
US ___ 17.3
PL ___ 11.9
DE ___ 6.0
RU ___ 4.4
KR ___ 4.1
CN ___ 4.1
TR ___ 4.0
BR ___ 3.2
IT ___ 2.9
FR ___ 2.9

Re:A more readable overview (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19952693)

Your post is damn stupid.

Anyway, why don't you think they lumped Turkey in with Europe? It's commonly done. Turkey is often called the sick man of Europe. There was a lot of talk about Turkey trying to join the EU. It's obviously not Russia or Brazil. It's certainly Turkey that was lumped in. You give no reason to disagree, so I will just assume you are one of those know-it-alls who doesn't actually know anything. Well know this: if greece is in europe, so is turkey. Racism explains why some fucks don't accept that.

And the EU does send more spam than the US. Especially considering all those other European countries not counted. I don't know why you disputed that (The EU doesn't need to be a country in order to send more spam than the US). by the way, it makes more sense to compare the EU to the US than to compare the US to one european country. No one disputed that the EU isn't a country, so your "drumroll" response is stupid.

This Spam list is just a measurement of internet use by the non-savvy. In other words commoners. The US and the EU have the most commoners using the internet.

Since spam relays have shifted from servers.... (1)

ptbarnett (159784) | about 7 years ago | (#19947173)

.... to PCs on broadband connections, is it any surprise that the countries with the widest deployment of consumer broadband will be the source of most spam?

Widest deployment? (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | about 7 years ago | (#19947381)

I thought the USA was comparatively far down the list, despite being big. It's only information but this article [websiteoptimization.com] from 2006 shows America down at 20.

What's more likely is the country with the most users has more tech-unsavvy users who get infected. Either that or they're just more likely to believe the "get free [insert something here]" flashing adverts and so have a higher infection/takeover rate.

Re:Widest deployment? (1)

ptbarnett (159784) | about 7 years ago | (#19947517)

I thought the USA was comparatively far down the list, despite being big. It's only information but this article from 2006 shows America down at 20.

Read your own article citation and look at the first graph. Penetration (percentage of internet users on broadband) is a substantially different metric from deployment (number of broadband users).

Re:Widest deployment? (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | about 7 years ago | (#19947603)

But the higher percentage you get then the more likely you are to get 'dumb' users sneaking in and not knowing how to protect themselves.

Either the 19 countries with a higher penetration but lower deployment than America have generally more intelligent and tech-savvy users and hence are bot-netted less, or else America is really unlucky and its higher 'deployment' has managed to catch more dumb users than the law of averages allows for.

Yes, the large number of users can out-weigh the actual percentage, but I would have thought some of the other top 20 would have more potential botted machines based on the stats. Not that I actually worked out sums, just a rough approximation.

Re:Since spam relays have shifted from servers.... (1)

nacturation (646836) | about 7 years ago | (#19947449)

And the solution to zombies on broadband is really simple [google.com] .
 

Re:Since spam relays have shifted from servers.... (3, Informative)

ptbarnett (159784) | about 7 years ago | (#19947573)

And the solution to zombies on broadband is really simple.

Blocking port 25 outbound is a strategic nuclear strike, where all that is needed is a carpenter's hammer.

However, I wouldn't be opposed to it as long as:

  • Applying for an exemption is as simple as filling out a online form, without talking to someone in an India call center and explaining why I want it done.

  • Third-party mail servers universally implement port 587 (the Mail Submission Agent port), while requiring username/password authentication.

Re:Since spam relays have shifted from servers.... (2, Insightful)

nacturation (646836) | about 7 years ago | (#19948075)

I think at this point, a nuclear strike is what's required. If people want to run their own SMTP servers, they can apply for permission to do so. Otherwise, whitelist individual SMTP servers as you suggest, or use your ISP's servers where spam checking can be centralized.
 

Why would an ISP do it? (2, Interesting)

hadaso (798794) | about 7 years ago | (#19952993)

If all ISPs block port 25 then botnet operators would program their zombies to use whatever email settings are there on the PC and send through the ISP's relay. As long asa few ISPs block port 25 sending directly is a better strategy for spammers. When the percentage of networks blocking port 25 would get higher than some threshold sending through the ISP servers with whatever filtering it has would become a better option for the spammer and the spammer would switch. This would be much more problematic for ISPs: dealing with a massive amount of spam trying to get out of their servers (instead of directly) might overload their outgoing email servics, would require huge resources in filtering outgoing mail, would create false positives with customers' legitimate outgoing mail being blocked on the way out.

So as much as blocking outgoing port 25 sounds nice and effective, it doesn't scale. On ther other hand port 25 "sniffing" might be good, expecially if it can lead to connecting the hijacked PCs to whoever uses them. But for this to work abuse fighters first need to abandon the idea that the most important goal is to catch the people that actually control the botnets. If a botnet is used to send spam on behalf of someone that paid someone else that hired yet another guy that paid a botnet operator for the service of using stolen resources then the one that provided the money for the operation should go to jail. And t's quite easy to determine who the advertiser is. So what's needed is to collect the data on actual spam messages going out of zombie PCs, choose those that are easier to locate, and put them in jail because they hired a criminal to work for them. If they can make excuses that they "didn't know" a crime is commited and without providing enough info to get the criminal then they should end up in jail. With just a few such cases there would be much less money flowing into spammers' pockets, and they'd be looking for another job...

Re:Since spam relays have shifted from servers.... (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 7 years ago | (#19952563)

No it is far simpler. Forward spam to a government department, after ten complaints, the department contacts the ISP to force a disconnect warning upon the account holder. The account holder if they are a spammer can simply then stop sending spam, or if their machine has been compromised and they can do something to fix it. No why wont they do this, apparently there is no profit in it. What is good to see is that http://www.acma.gov.au/interforms/spam/spammatters .htm [acma.gov.au] is working in Australia, so all that needs to happen now is for other countries to follow suit and to create spam treaties.

Re:Since spam relays have shifted from servers.... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 years ago | (#19955375)

The problem already starts way befor that: The problem starts at people not KNOWING jack about their PC. If they even knew that they could do such a thing as blocking a port (not to mention maybe have at least a hazy dream of what a port might be), they'd probably not be brainless clickmonkeys in the first place, thus not being spam relays.

The problem with this information is that it will most likely never reach the ones that do really need it. And they are usually also the ones whose primary concern is that their IE and their Outlook "sortakinda" work, and who don't give a damn about trojans, worms and spambots as long as they can write their email and surf their pr0n and their connection doesn't slow down so much that said activities can't be done anymore.

The general creed is that as long a my connection is good, to hell with everyone else. Why should I care about my security, nobody's after my data, and those spammers don't want to cut my connection, and most of all, I am not liable for anything if my machine is trojan infested, so I don't care.

And as long as people aren't responsible for what damage their machines do in the net, that won't change.

IEPA (1)

Original Replica (908688) | about 7 years ago | (#19947177)

To get the mass public to be diligent about keeping there computeres zombie free, we need both positive and negitive encouragement. Negative: First a notice, then a fine for "pollution/disruption" of a public space, the internet. Positive: a government site with all the free blockers/cleaners/tools you need to keep your computer malware free.

Both would be needed because the free tools are already out there, but they aren't being used by enough people because they don't care to expend the effort to be a good net citizen. On the other hand it would be wrong to fine people if you don't supply a way for them to correct their problem.

Re:IEPA (1)

ewl1217 (922107) | about 7 years ago | (#19951133)

I understand where you're coming from, but I don't think your idea of a fine is fair. I'm sorry for the car analogy, but it would be like fining somebody if their car was hijacked and the hijacker was caught speeding. Sure, they could have prevented it, but is it really fair to punish the victim? While I agree that people should take the responsibility to secure their computers and networks, I don't think that this is the proper way to go about it.

Surprising findings (1)

Phroggy (441) | about 7 years ago | (#19947183)

Paul Ducklin, Sophos Asia Pacific head of technology, said that spammers are ready to "borrow" any computer illegally to send e-mail regardless of the location.
I'm shocked that spammers aren't more discerning in their choice of which hijacked computers to use when sending crap nobody wants to millions of e-mail addresses picked at random.

What this really means - nothing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19947187)

Seriously, all this says is that in the US and China, there lies the highest number of ignorant computer users. Not on a per-capita basis, just total. Yet another example of how statistics can lie and harry dies make things sound like whatever the author wants. Seriously if this isn't tagged 'slownewsday' within the first 30 minutes, it should be.

tag it 'windows' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19947195)

thanks for the spam microsoft

Whoa (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19947199)

But you don't understand. In America, we're free to send spam. In China, they send spam because their government is evil.

In other words ... (4, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 7 years ago | (#19947201)

the countries with the most bandwidth available to the general population, and which also have the greatest number of Windows installations and open mail relays, also produce the most spam. Hardly a surprising conclusion.

Not that simple (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19947897)

Maybe I could brag here a bit...

I live in Finland. It's not on the list. That's hardly surprising because our population of 5 million would have hard time relaying enough spam to make it there even if we tried it. However...

The broadband penetration here is around 60%, which is in the top20 or maybe top10 in the world. The exact figure is rather irrelevant. Let's just say that it's within a few percent compared to the other top countries. Now, look at the zoomed map.

http://www.sophos.com/images/common/misc/zombie-ea rth.png [sophos.com]

If you can find Finland, you'll notice that there's exactly one single dot on the whole map. That's Helsinki region and its about one million inhabitants. One dot there, nothing elsewhere. Compare that to - say, Portugal. It has ten million people and it's riddled with dots. Sweden has 8 million people and plenty of dots. Even taking the population into account, you could say this broadband-heavy country is practically clean of spam machines. How's that possible?

Two words: responsible ISPs. If they spot a private machine spouting 5000 e-mails every minute, they kick you out and ask you to fix your machine. Often they even provide the necessary software. Try another ISP and it will happen again. We don't want to contribute to the spam problem. At some point your tubes will be cut. Period. Also, there are quite strong laws against spamming. Definitely nothing like the US you-can-spam act but a true ban on unsolicited e-mail marketing. Therefore domestic spam is nearly inexistent too.

This is not a perfect country. No need to get into a mudflinging contest, OK? I'm just using us as an example against the assumption that broadband penetration == lots of spam relays. There is something you can do if you really want. To get on the list, there must be ISPs who are willing to turn a blind eye. We don't.

No, I don't feel my freedom of privacy violated a slightest bit if they monitor my e-mail amounts. Tunnelling and encryption are perfectly legal here. And the ISPs hardly care about the content of my actual e-mails. Keep on killing the zombies. You have my full support.

Re:Not that simple (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 7 years ago | (#19954141)

All I have to say is that, even though you feel your privacy isn't being invaded, it most certainly is. Worse yet, depending upon the long-term benevolence of government (any government) with regards to privacy is a mistake. You're taking the dangerous view that, since you aren't doing anything (currently) of interest to law enforcement, you are safe.

You're not.

Re:In other words ... (1)

starrsoft (745524) | about 7 years ago | (#19952205)

Exactly. A much more interesting question would be: What country sends the most spam per internet connected computer? or What country sends the most spam per gigabit of international bandwidth?

But here's the catch (1)

kilodelta (843627) | about 7 years ago | (#19947209)

The U.S. is on top because of all the spambots ever since we let the unwashed come and play on the net. I can't tell you how many people I come across that have broadband connections and NO firewall or AV software whatsoever. They're all aghast when I explain what can happen when they don't have those things.

Whats really scary is that companies like Verizon and Cox send out wireless gear UNSECURED and with no instructions, or at least clear instructions on how to secure the network.

But in the case of China, it's government sponsored. So there is a big difference. In every case that I've gotten Chinese spam it's from one of the ISP's mail servers there.

Re:But here's the catch (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 7 years ago | (#19947613)

I don't know what the mean time to infection of an unprotected system is nowadays, but presumably it's on the order of minutes. ISPs like to bitch about the bandwidth consumed by spambots, but they don't seem to want to help their customers avoid being pwned. I do know that some of the DSL modems shipped by SBC (the ones with built-in wireless) have firewalls, but the regular models don't, my Comcast cable modem doesn't, and I've seen very few outfits that provide even basic firewall capability. Like most people on Slashdot, that's fine by me since I'd rather protect myself, but for the millions of users who trustingly jack their unprotected, unpatched machines onto the Net ... well. It's much more popular to complain about Microsoft's insecure operating systems, when a lot of the fault can be put at the ISPs feet, since they should at least offer a more secure option to their customers. I have the feeling that if an ISP's sales rep said, "Well, Mr. Jones, we have a more-secure modem available, with a built-in firewall, for an extra twenty dollars" I'll just bet that Mr. Jones would spend the money for a little peace of mind. Sure, that won't protect against mail-borne malware or drive-bys, but at least it would keep most of the worms out.

Re:But here's the catch (1)

cdrguru (88047) | about 7 years ago | (#19949033)

Problem is the "more secure" modem is pitched to the customer as something that is optional, good for more technical users and not really necessary for the "normal home user". The ISPs are making any more money off the more-expensive modem and they certainly aren't getting more customers that way.

However, if they tell someone all sorts of scary stories they just may lose a customer.

We are still in a developing market where the competitors are fighting for market share and penetration. Why ever in the world would they do something that could scare a customer off?

Re:But here's the catch (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 7 years ago | (#19949981)

Because it would save them a lot of money if they didn't have millions of zombied Windows boxes burning up their capacity. Besides, it's not like any of the big ISPs really care all that much about keeping customers anyway.

It's all a matter of presentation. You don't need to tell a potential customer any scary stories, but you can simply recommend that the buy the better unit. Matter of fact, since a properly-protected customer will save you bandwidth charges, you could offer to knock a couple bucks off their monthly bill as an incentive to protect themselves.

Yay! We're still #1 at something!!! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19947215)

Yeah! We're still #1 in SPAM relaying!

How do we rank in:

1. freedom of press
2. quality of journalism (ratio of quantifiable facts vs propaganda)
3. K-12 education
4. healthcare and life expectancy
5. government oversight and accountability
6. nonfiction national security (e.g., preventing unauthorized access across our borders)

Any ideas?

Who cares about relays (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19947235)

this is a problem that needs to be stopped at the source. Where do the spammers themselves come from, and who do they work for? Ultimately, they're all vulnerable. Stock spammers can be handed to the SEC (FTC?), pill spammers can get their drug supply cut off (find out which pharma company supplies the spam company, and negative publicity should do the rest). If that fails, there's always the 'sign the spammer up for tons of snail mail spam' trick.

Those statistics are EXTREMELY misleading (5, Insightful)

tempestdata (457317) | about 7 years ago | (#19947285)

As a mail provider I wouldn't be surprised that the US and china were the source of a significant chunk of spam. They (the US especially) have a LOT of email users. What I'm interested is the ratio of good email to spam email. For instance, if the US makes up for 90% of all email sent, then is it really that bad if it makes up 25% of the world's spam? On the other hand Mexico may make up 1% of the world's email, but 90% of the email coming from there could be spam.

The volume of spam should be taking in the context of the usage of email. The RATIO of legit emails to spam is a better indicator of where the spammers are coming from than volume alone

Re:Those statistics are EXTREMELY misleading (1)

dwater (72834) | about 7 years ago | (#19949753)

That's not true.

It might make you feel better to think that because there is more email traffic there is more spam, but it doesn't change the facts about where the spam is coming from.

You could argue that your suggestion would be a more meaningful metric, but that's not what you argued...and I'd disagree anyway. It's just like with green house gas emissions - just because you use more energy doesn't nullify the fact that you're producing more green house gases.

Volume is volume.

Mod parent up (1)

fyoder (857358) | about 7 years ago | (#19950635)

Volume is volume.

Amen. Block email from China and US and spam will be reduced dramatically. Unfortunately, the head sysadmin where I work thinks we'd get a lot of complaints if we blocked the US. The grandparent post's argument isn't entirely without merit. Because of the percentage of legit email from the US, we can't even think about blocking the US. On principal we don't block China, but we think about it.

Re:Mod parent up (1)

dwater (72834) | about 7 years ago | (#19951575)

If that was his argument, then that's a fair point. That it was his argument, however, wasn't clear.

In any case, the point it seems to turn the discussion 'what to do about it' rather than 'who to blame', which isn't a bad direction to turn, I suppose - a lot more practical than blame :)

Being in China, I guess I might be guilty of being on the defensive on this issue, and so read his post in the wrong light. Apologies if that is the case.

There is a single cause: (0, Flamebait)

billsf (34378) | about 7 years ago | (#19947305)

Windows!

Isn't it time that the world get tough, fine Microsoft $100 or so per incident and collapse all of Gate's charities while there at it? Just keeping Windows off the Internet would serve the same purpose, but destroying the cause would make people think twice about putting computers in the hands of complete idiots.

 

Re:There is a single cause: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19948937)

Isn't it time that the world get tough, fine Microsoft $100 or so per incident and collapse all of Gate's charities while there at it? Just keeping Windows off the Internet would serve the same purpose, but destroying the cause would make people think twice about putting computers in the hands of complete idiots.
That sounds like a great start.

Re:There is a single cause: (1)

cdrguru (88047) | about 7 years ago | (#19948991)

Users!

When a user clicks on a link and is prompted to "run or save" some executable program what should they do? Of course, if the previous message told them to "just click run" they are going to just click the Run button. At least some percentage will.

With Vista it may prompt them half a dozen times with "Are you sure?" messages, but the users are no more capable of understanding these messages than they were the original one. So they click the "Yes, I'm sure!" button over and over again.

There is no security when users can be conned into installing software they should not on their computers.

Re:There is a single cause: (1)

dwater (72834) | about 7 years ago | (#19949781)

> while there at it?

It's "they're" - ie short for "they are".

I don't know if I'm alone, but I find it quite difficult to read when people get this wrong - it actually means something different, so the sentence needs another scan to figure out.

Re:There is a single cause: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19958883)

Agreed. I was also confused by the GP's post, I'm not sure who Gate is. Now if we're talking about Gates' charities, I'm not sure why anyone would want them collapsed.

What about "Windows' malicious software removal"? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 7 years ago | (#19947339)

Does anybody know what this thing actually does? Microsoft seems to push it out often enough but does it actually do anything...?

The statistics seem to say it's just a placebo.

Re:What about "Windows' malicious software removal (1)

gkhan1 (886823) | about 7 years ago | (#19948267)

That doesn't make any sense. A placebo is a medicine that doesn't really fix a problem but works anyway because the person taking it thinks it does. If AV software doesn't fix a problem, it doesn't fix the problem, no matter how much you wish it did.

Our efforts seem to be paying off (4, Informative)

aszaidi (464751) | about 7 years ago | (#19947419)

I'm glad to see no mention of Pakistan in there. It used to be one of the biggest sources of spam until recently. I work for a large ISP here and we take spam seriously. We recently started blocking all outbound emails from customers, restricting them to our state-of-the-art (Linux + Exim + SA etc.) servers. Even now, a single Spamcop report can have offending customer's email completely blocked. Corporate user or no corporate user.

The bigger task is getting all the other ISPs in the country to agree to implement this instead of bending over backwards to please their customers and allow them to broadcast whatever their virus-infected PCs can conjure. The major technical players have formed a network-admins group which discusses such topics and so far, the response has been quite positive.

It will likely take a while before these types of policies are enforced in countries which are only just starting to get online.

Re:Our efforts seem to be paying off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19947781)

that mentality won't work in the US. while i applaud your efforts, in the US, people (like myself at least) like total control over their accounts which they have *paid* for.
ideally, the ISPs would block as you said and then allow people like myself to petition for opening ports for particular user accounts like myself.

Re:Our efforts seem to be paying off (1)

aszaidi (464751) | about 7 years ago | (#19952781)

Although it is a big strain on our support personnel, we do open ports for users who insist on it. It is usually the non-technical customers that create the most fuss and when all their email gets blocked, refuse to accept responsibility for their infected PCs. The above step had to be taken for the overall good after our whole subnets became listed in DSBLs and the rest of the customers started to suffer.

News at eleven... (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | about 7 years ago | (#19947451)

Country with more guns has more gunshot deaths.

Country with pro-euthanasia law has more assisted suicides.

Communist East and Capitalist West both support spamming as source of finance...

Hand on, maybe that last one is unusual.

Here's What I Don't Get About China (1)

Comatose51 (687974) | about 7 years ago | (#19947525)

Their infamous "Great Wall" Internet censoring system can censor contents they don't want going into China, why can't they filter some of the spam coming out?

Re:Here's What I Don't Get About China (2, Interesting)

eck011219 (851729) | about 7 years ago | (#19949023)

Actually, why would they? China has proven itself to be quite pragmatically self-serving when it comes to money, and if more people are making money in China (above board or below), that's more money going into the general pot through purchasing power. So even if there are spammers in China reaping the rewards of an outgoing-only setup to bilk consumers, they're still spending more than other citizens on groceries, cars, homes, electronics, and so on. Just a guess, though -- I'm certainly no sociologist or economist.

Re:Here's What I Don't Get About China (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 7 years ago | (#19950173)

One misleading factor is that the .cn domain names are very cheap and spammers were buying them up a few dozen at a time a bit over a year ago to get around filters that would only accept mail from resolvable domains. The name may have been in China but at that point the spamming machine was not, so at the time there were a lot of false reports of Chinese spam that could have been coming from anywhere. The other factor is there is now a lot more broadband there and apparently a lot of inexperienced computer users running Microsoft Windows in insecure configurations - we can't blame all it on Microsoft but it is not an easy thing for a new user to set up to be secure. Malware on a few million unsecured machines is going to make a difference.

Re:Here's What I Don't Get About China (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 years ago | (#19958013)

Of course not. Does it affect China? No. So? Duh.

Btw, it ain't different in any other country. As long as it only affects others, who cares?

PC Based (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19947529)

Let's face it, the Great Unspoken Truth is that ALL of the relayed spam is coming through Wintel boxes. Want to end the spam problem overnight? Make PCs illegal, confiscate them and kill the people that make them.

Small Appendage DNA Pool (1)

Token_Internet_Girl (1131287) | about 7 years ago | (#19947631)

China obviously needs more penis enhancement spam.

Re:Small Appendage DNA Pool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19948167)

It's because they sold all of their enhancements to the US, isn't it?

Instead of Top Overall (3, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 7 years ago | (#19947699)

Instead of just giving a top overall count of who's sending spam, how about a figure weighted by how many connected computers are in the country overall? If China sends a bit less than the USA, but the USA has 10X as many broadband connected computers, then Chinese computers are far more vulnerable to this sort of activity, and focus preventative measures there to mitigate the problem. Under those circumstances, the USA problem might be dealt with in a different way than the Chinese problem, but without this curcial information, who knows?

Re:Instead of Top Overall (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19951237)

According to a recent China Daily article [chinadaily.com.cn] , China has 122 million broadband users and another 40 million dialup and mobile internet users, while the US has 211 million users. At the same time, the US produces 19.6% of Spam while China produces 8.4% (China's figure wasn't given in the linked article but the original source from Sophos [sophos.com] has more details).

Even assuming that all of these 211 million users have broadband, the US has only 1.7x as many broadband connections as China but it still produces 2.3x as much spam. The reason for this is most likely that what passes for broadband in China is usually still only 1Mbps, so a compromised US machine will be able to pump out a lot more emails than one in China.

Good going Zonk! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19947739)

Toping the list

Theriault said that while the U.S. remains the top spam dog, there results
I'm gonna get drunk on there list?

I don't expect correct spelling and grammar from the editors of /., but this has to be a new low. Good job, Zonk!

Re:Good going Zonk! (1)

Goaway (82658) | about 7 years ago | (#19948961)

That wouldn't be so bad, if the first sentence had an actual subject.

Unless the subject is some kind of outfit named "On Thursday".

Script Kiddies as well (1)

Tarlus (1000874) | about 7 years ago | (#19947783)

US and China are also the top two harborers of SSH and FTP attackers (dictionary and brute force script kiddies). My auth.log and vsftpd.log files are evidence of that. This also reflects in the DenyHosts statistics [denyhosts.net] . (Click the 'Country' link at the top of the page.)

Largest spamming planet (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 7 years ago | (#19947933)

News Flash:
The Earth is the largest spam relaying planet in the galaxy.

More at eleven.

Re:Largest spamming planet (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 7 years ago | (#19948233)

Really? How much spam are we relaying? I mean, we have SETI and friends listening for alien spam, but I don't think we're forwarding it anyway. We're pretty much a galactic honeypot for spam...

To catch an identity thief. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19949751)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17805134/ [msn.com]

Exactly what it says and is currently running.

#1 (1)

thanatos_x (1086171) | about 7 years ago | (#19951229)

Is it too late to say "We're number 1! We're number !" oh wait...

ISPs should block smtp servers (1)

Tweekster (949766) | about 7 years ago | (#19951821)

They really should have a default block of smtp servers, UNLESS specifically requested. I think that will take care of everyone nicely, it will stop the masses who dont even know what SMTP is from running zombies, and also accomidate the people that do want to

The defaults should be sane for the masses, with options for those that dont fit in that category.

spam ! (1)

chrisranjana.com (630682) | about 7 years ago | (#19953473)

Hopefully something is done about this SPAM.. My inbox gets really full these days !

Astonishing Correlation (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 7 years ago | (#19953927)

China and the US are also the top Carbon Dioxide emitters! OMFG!

Re:Astonishing Correlation (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 7 years ago | (#19958071)

Well, both are mostly hot air.

I know there's a politician joke in there somewhere...
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