A Weblog About Topics and Issues Discussed in the Book Spam Kings by Brian McWilliams

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April 16, 2005

Containing spam at the source

More curmudgeonly grumbling about spam in the media ...

I was intrigued by a recent story from the Associated Press that boldly begins: "There's a new strategy in the spam battle: Call it containment."

I'm all ears at that point, hoping the article will draw attention to the fact that zombied Windows computers are the primary conduit for spam. Maybe the exposure will encourage some consumers to take better care of their computers (patching, anti-virus software, etc) so they won't become zombified. Maybe the article will even spur broadband ISPs to be more proactive about helping infected customers, or even unplugging them from the Net.

But then the article goes on to talk about how AOL and Earthlink are taking steps to prevent people from sending spam from their mail servers. (Hotmail is also briefly mentioned, as are a few other ISPs.)

The story just blows right by a key statement from AOL's Carl Hutzler: that spam zombies are responsible for 90 percent of the junk email problem.

OK, so never mind AOL and Earthlink. What are ISPs like Comcast and Kornet -- home to many of the world's spam zombies -- doing lately to contain the problem?

The article doesn't even talk about attacking the zombie issue.

In the end, good PR for AOL and Earthlink (including a nice server-room photo of an Earthlink director). But a missed opportunity to stop spam before it's sent.

Posted by brian at April 16, 2005 10:53 PM


Blocking egress port 25 traffic will, in fact, shut down zombies.

Posted by: Alec Berry at April 26, 2005 5:41 PM


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