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Spam United States News

US No Longer Leading the World In Spam 96

Posted by kdawson
from the we're-number-two dept.
darthcamaro writes "America is no longer the spam king. According to Cisco, US-originated spam dropped by over two trillion messages — American-based IP addresses sent about 6.2 trillion spam messages. The new world leader is Brazil at 7.7 trillion messages. 'I'm not completely surprised to see US falling to number two in the spam stats, but I didn't expect it to happen yet,' said Cisco Fellow Patrick Peterson. 'I was really gratified to see the actual spam volume decrease, not just ranking, but we [also] decreased the amount of spam that is pouring out of the United States.'" The drop in US spam might have had something to do with the temporary shutdown of the McColo spam ISP.
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US No Longer Leading the World In Spam

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  • First Post (Score:1, Funny)

    by el3mentary (1349033)

    Spam'd

  • by nebaz (453974)

    We're #2! We're #2! We're #2!

    • Re:Woohoo! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @06:38PM (#30371490)

      We're #2! We're #2! We're #2!

      In so many ways.

      • Re:Woohoo! (Score:4, Funny)

        by von_rick (944421) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @06:50PM (#30371612) Homepage

        This could serve as an inspiration to some movie script writer-

        In a world where.....One man set out to generate enough spam to make his country proud. This is the story of courage, and determination...

        You get the gist?

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by TemporalBeing (803363)
          Please no more about Bill Gates. His evil spam and malware empire is bad enough - he' s just out for world domination any way he can get it.

          What? You think Windows is this flawed by coincidence? You really think that Windows-related spam and malware is just an accident? Who was the genius behind DOS and Windows at Microsoft any way? Who micro-managed it to the empire that it is?
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by ErstO (1696262)
        this is unheard of, this cant be, tell me it's not true, we have to be number one in EVERYTHING !! Who's fault is this? who is slipping up and falling behind? could this be Obama's fault? How can we turn it around? perhaps a quick stimulus bill to get spammers to work harder? How about a boycott? YA THAT'S IT, boycott foreign spam !!!! support US spam only, if we all pitch in the US can once again be number one !!!
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by mjwx (966435)

        We're #2! We're #2! We're #2!

        In so many ways.

        Don't worry, in the bedroom America will always come first.

  • by neonprimetime (528653) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @06:25PM (#30371324) Homepage
    According to Hormel [hormelfoods.com]

    More than 122 million cans of the SPAM® family of products are sold worldwide each year, 90 million in the U.S. alone.

    Sounds to me like the US is still the leader!
  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @06:25PM (#30371328) Homepage Journal
    Clearly, this shows that the oft-suggested tactic of countering spam with fines, kidnapping, prison, and murder, is working extremely well. Just look at how we are no longer the top country for spam to originate from!

    Except that of course it is well known that most spam is pumped out of botnets. And the botnets are usually spread out all over the world. Really, this just tells us that less spamming botnet activity is coming from the US than Brazil in that particular observed time frame. This could be attributed to any of a number of factors.
    • by sopssa (1498795) *

      Exactly. And this line in the summary doesn't just make sense:

      The drop in US spam might have had something to do with the temporary shutdown of the McColo spam ISP.

      Didn't it take just some days while the botnets moved elsewhere and spam level was same again? McColo was hosting C&C for the botnets, not actually spamming itself.

      • I admit, I don't know how a botnet exactly works, but I understand that one can "rent" time on them.

        If the botnet was told "for the next X days, send out this spam" and they didn't queue up another command to follow, perhaps the McColo takedown corresponded with the end of a block of time.

        Of course, this reminds me that I need to check my EVE training queue.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TemporalBeing (803363)
        From what I understand - reading the blogs by WSJ and others behind the takedown of McColo - it wasn't just a matter of taking out McColo; but also discovering all the domains that the botnets were checking for and getting ahead of it to shut them down. And it was far more than just a few days - it was about a month or so before anything really picked up again - and my spam folder went from 100+/per day to ~8/day.
        • Oh, and almost forgot - the C&C also ended up getting tranferred out of the USA for what the spammer did recover.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by war4peace (1628283)
      But in the end, it's just stats. I don't care where the SPAM originates from, I only care to get the least amount of SPAM in my Inbox. Whether it dropped in the US but increased in Brazil, I couldn't care less. I only care about how's SPAM doing worldwide; and if the amounts globally increased, the rest is just useless statistics. So no point being happy or sad, any SPAM sent to your e-mail address will get to your e-mail address, regardless whether it's from US, Nigeria or Romania.
    • by vuo (156163)
      What I'd like to see is statistics on where the spam-producing criminals are, and where are their "customers", rather than counting where the botnet is. I bet Brazilians, Russians or Chinese aren't doing that much good business in selling Viagra (may contain plaster) or Genuine Quartz Rolexes, or more importantly, buying them. IMHO: if you eliminated the spam that either comes from American criminals or which is targeted at Americans, there'd be no spam.
      • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:38PM (#30372118) Homepage Journal

        What I'd like to see is statistics on where the spam-producing criminals are, and where are their "customers", rather than counting where the botnet is

        That may be a more difficult question than you might expect. Finding the person who is writing the spam and sending instructions to the botnet to send the spam is one thing, but it isn't the only thing. As we have seen before, there are plenty more spammers available to take the place of any who might fall from the top.

        The customers, however are another thing entirely. While many of our favorite spammers may be in a few select locations, their customers are generally distributed all over the world - or so we would believe from the WHOIS data. Unfortunately, there isn't generally much better records for the customers than the WHOIS data for the domains that are being spamvertised. And we know that the WHOIS data is itself generally questionable on a good day and utter crap any other day. Of course you could also trace the IP address of the webserver for the spamvertised domain, but that will only lead to to where the site is hosted, which doesn't tell you where the "company" actually is.

        I bet Brazilians, Russians or Chinese aren't doing that much good business in selling Viagra (may contain plaster) or Genuine Quartz Rolexes, or more importantly, buying them

        As I said earlier, those classifiers depend on who you are trying to describe. I can tell you from my experience that a significant portion of the spam I receive is spamvertising domains registered in Russia or China. And there are often other servers along the way to keep the operation going that are distributed in various places in Pacific Ocean countries, Africa, or South America. Although of course since the registrars are generally in on the deal, they are intentionally posting garbage WHOIS records for the domains in question.

        IMHO: if you eliminated the spam that either comes from American criminals

        Again that comes down to how you classify the criminals. Spamming is generally an international endeavor now, though.

        or which is targeted at Americans, there'd be no spam

        I think an argument could be made that not much spam anymore really targets any particular country. I would say that a primary reason why so much spam is written in English is just because it is one of the most read languages on the internet; hence a spam in English has a very good chance of getting to someone who can read English. When Mandarin or Hindi take over we'll see more spam in those languages (I have seen Chinese and Japanese spam for years in some of my inboxes).

        • by mjwx (966435)

          As I said earlier, those classifiers depend on who you are trying to describe. I can tell you from my experience that a significant portion of the spam I receive is spamvertising domains registered in Russia or China. And there are often other servers along the way to keep the operation going that are distributed in various places in Pacific Ocean countries, Africa, or South America. Although of course since the registrars are generally in on the deal, they are intentionally posting garbage WHOIS records fo

          • spamvertising domains registered in Russia or China

            Here's the brilliant thing about the internet, I don't need to be a Russian or Chinese person to register a .ru or .cn address.

            I apologize for the lack of clarity, I was referring to where the WHOIS data says the spamvertised domain is located. I prefer to go after the people behind the spamvertised domain, because they are the ones paying the spammer. Other people may prefer to instead go after the owner of the IP address that relayed the spam (though from my point of view botnet spamming has made that a useless effort). Still others may instead prefer to find the IP for the spamvertised website, and go after the ISP responsibl

            • by mjwx (966435)

              Sounds like we agree on that as well, though we stated in differently.

              Yep, the source of the problem is who ever is making money off the whole thing. Nothing can be done until we solve that one.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by jonbryce (703250)

              Following the money will lead you to a money transfer mule, then to a Western Union or Moneygram branch, and then the trail runs cold.

              You could clamp down on money transfer services, but that will affect legitimate users of those services - people sending money to family members in other countries, perhaps in an emergency situation; and anyway, the criminals would just go to another method of cashing out, like for example the purchasing and forwarding agent scam.

        • by ShaunC (203807)

          I can tell you from my experience that a significant portion of the spam I receive is spamvertising domains registered in Russia or China

          I'll follow up to that with the following screenshot of one of my inboxes (which, incidentally, is not protected by SpamAssassin)

          Sorry, I don't speak Sputnik [shaunc.com]

          Most of the spam I get these days is for Russians, by Russians. I have no idea what the hell it's advertising.

          • Most of the spam I get these days is for Russians, by Russians. I have no idea what the hell it's advertising.

            I have a custom SpamAssassin rule that bumps russian language mails up a few points. I do the same for the chinese language messages.

            The chinese spammers *really* like sending chinese spam to my webmaster@ address...
      • by mirix (1649853)
        Sure a bunch of it is aimed at Americans, but I also get some Russian targeted ads (apartments for sale by Moscow, you're invited to some conference in Novosibirsk, etc etc)

        But it does seem that the vast majority of spam is indeed english, ime.
  • USA Numba One! (Score:1, Redundant)

    by e2d2 (115622)

    Yes but we never give up. We will strive to be on top of this list no matter what it takes. Come rain, sleet or snow we will be leveraging our synergies, overcoming any obstacle to our dominance in the market of bullshit. Make no mistake.. .. We will not rest until that great land of bullshit has a US flag planted firmly in it's bung hole with some weasel counting the beans coming out of the "back end"!

  • Recently I started getting 15 mod points every time they get allotted, whereas I used to only get 5. I've also noticed a lot more of the comments seem to be getting moderation, so I'm assuming 15 is the new norm. Just curious and wanted to confirm this. Thanks
  • by edwebdev (1304531) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @06:30PM (#30371390)
    I thought it was bad enough when the U. S. was falling behind the rest of the world in health care and science education. Now we've fallen behind in spam generation as well?!?! Come on people! This is a wake-up call if ever I heard one!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      We need Obama to craft a new SPAM stimulus bill. We can spend our way out of this SPAM recession!
  • by hwyhobo (1420503) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @06:43PM (#30371526)
    I had no idea Brazil used Cyrillic character set.
  • by mea37 (1201159) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @06:44PM (#30371542)

    "The drop in US spam might have had something to do with the temporary shutdown of the McColo spam ISP"

    Oh, really?

    According to the very links kdawson uses to back this idea up, the botnet was off line for what, maybe 2 weeks... out of a 52 week year. So if they accoutned for all of the US spam, that outage would result in a drop of 4%.

    But looking at the other numbers in TFS, it looks like there was in fact a drop of something like 25%.

    So yes, it may have had something to do with it. In the same sense that the increase in temperature in my house may have had something to do with letting the dog back in (but probably had more to do with having the furnace repaired).

  • now where am i going to buy my viagra?! doomed to be a geeky placid virgin for life!
  • You can't blame bad US management of SPAM distribution. I think it's the economic situation. Give us a few years and we'll be on top again. As an American, I take pride that we are the top at everything, and have no doubt we'll return there once this bad economic weather blows over.
  • Geez, I dropped the known .br IP blocks into a blackhole years ago. This may explain why my just-for-spam address receipts have been dropping.

    • by lzmbr (906441)

      Why don't you whitelist the blocks from your region instead?
      Banning Brazil is a stupid thing because:

      a. The majority of spammers aren't using Brazilian IP's;
      b. The majority of Brazilian IP's aren't being used by spammers, legitimate users will come and they should not be blocked.

      Besides that's kind of a dick move, the US has been the top spam source for years and no one banned their IP ranges.

      • by cmholm (69081)

        White listing, black listing... the result is the same. It's easier for me, on my non-business, nothing special home web/mail server, to drop vast IP blocks. If someone sees something about my site they want to comment on, they can use my mail form. If there's someone in particular I want to correspond with, I can white list them. I seriously doubt there's anyone who's legitimate email is going to be affected by me being a dick admin.

  • US dollar (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by jonsmirl (114798)

    Does this make the US dollar spam? We print about five trillion a year.

    • by xaxa (988988)

      You should use coins.

      (For comparison, there are 5.6 billion 1€ coins in circulation, for roughly the same population.)

  • What? (Score:1, Redundant)

    Are we world leaders in anything anymore? Sheesh!

    C'mon, team USA! Get out there and spam one for the Gipper!

  • We used to be the best at everything.

    Then we lost our position in the world as upholders of human rights.

    Followed by our economy going down the drain.

    Then the dollar lost its place as best currency.

    Now we're losing our position as Spam leaders?!

    There's nothing left.. I'm jumping out of the sinking ship!

  • A Brazilian (Score:5, Funny)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:38PM (#30372116) Homepage Journal

    The new world leader is Brazil at 7.7 trillion messages.

    From now on, 7.7 trillion will be known as one Brazilian.

  • by bsDaemon (87307) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:50PM (#30372206)
    I was self-appointed anti-spam czar at my last job, as I was absolutely convinced that nearly all our CPU criticals in Nagios were i/o bound, and that they were largely caused by spam. One time, I took a server (a dell 2950) down from a load of 15 to a load of 3, just by blocking one IP address I found connected to SMTP 6 times, and causing spamd to churn, according to the Exim logs. The majority of the spam that I saw would come from Brazil, Columbia and Italy. One time, we hit a flood so bad of Brazilian spam, that it maxed out SMTP connections on half our west coast shared hosting servers, and caused one of our caching nameservers to crash from all the rbl look-ups.

    I can't really say I'm surprised by this at all.
    • by caluml (551744)

      smtpd_recipient_restrictions =
      .......
      reject_rbl_client sbl-xbl.spamhaus.org,
      reject_rbl_client cn.countries.nerd.dk,
      reject_rbl_client ru.countries.nerd.dk,
      reject_rbl_client ua.countries.nerd.dk,
      reject_rbl_client jp.countries.nerd.dk,
      reject_rbl_client vn.countries.nerd.dk,
      reject_rbl_client br.countries.nerd.dk,
      .......

      default_rbl_reply = $rbl_code Service unavailable; $rbl_class [$rbl_what] blocked using $rbl_domain${rbl_reason?; $rbl_reason}. For whitelisting, contact via http://xx

      • in Postfix's main.cf will get rid of about 97% of spam attempts (made up number). Of course, if you expect mail from those countries, you'll have to allow them.

        Enforcing helo name sanity in Postfix will, by itself, drop your load by 50-60%. Even without querying external DNSBLs.

        Start with "reject_invalid_helo_hostname", then "reject_non_fqdn_helo_hostname" and finally "reject_unknown_helo_hostname" (if you're using Postfix 2.6 or later). The last check isn't especially safe on a loaded mail server wh
    • by mjwx (966435)

      One time, I took a server (a dell 2950) down from a load of 15 to a load of 3, just by blocking one IP address I found connected to SMTP 6 times,

      Your anti-spam software was not automatically doing this based on statistics?

      I used Trend Micro IMSS at my last job and although most spam was blocked by RBL's (if you're on an RBL you don't get an SMTP connection) I'd still get one or two addresses a week temporarily blocked simply because they crossed the spam threshold.

      Trend was blocking 85% of spam on R

      • by bsDaemon (87307)
        We were relying on SpamAssassin out of cPanel's general config and I wasn't really allowed to do anything proactive or cool, beyond my secret practice of scraping IPs from RBLs, anything which hit the rate limit, or which otherwise displayed spamish behaviour and dropping it with an apf -d.
        • by mjwx (966435)
          I suppose you cant fight corporate policy and keep your sanity in tact.

          I suppose if you can detect this kind of behaviour you can script it, name it something innocuous and commit the cardinal sin of not documenting it (unless they never check the doco).

          Not really an expert on Spam Assassin, my last job paid for the Trend Micro Suite which came with IMSS and my new job doesn't seem to get spam (don't know what's up with that, I'm new here and nothing was doco'ed)
          • by bsDaemon (87307)
            All of this was being dumped onto shared web hosting servers, so its not exactly as if we could be in complete control, as the spam was directed at our customers, who were getting spam for being dumb. Of course, when we caught people sending out spam, I'd drop the hammer of the gods on them. I have a really low threshold for putting up with spam crap, and a really high BOFH drive.
    • by Meneguzzi (935620)
      Did you mean the country Colombia, the district of Columbia or the poetic name for America?
  • America is no longer the spam king. According to Cisco, US-originated spam dropped by over two trillion messages -- American-based IP addresses sent about 6.2 trillion spam messages. The new world leader is Brazil at 7.7 trillion messages.

    These figures are over what span of time, a year? Calendar year 2008? Last week? One weekend? An acquaintance used to send most of his over weekends, when fewer senior admins were around to notice and more people were at home and likely to actually read mail and respond
  • Shouldn't the title be, US loses leadship position in internet technology and marketing?

  • 7.7 trillion...

    What a waste, the immenseness of counter-productivity is mind boggling. So much annoyance and so much overhead for a problem entirely maintained by human idiocy.

    When will they wise up and stop doing stupid shit?

    • We are not a civilization, we are an alien reality show "those crazy apes". They carefully direct us to remain this stupid through careful inbreeding programs.

      Anything to keep the ratings. Today on "Those crazy apes", a planet that produced enough food for dinosaurs still has people starving on one side and unable to stand on their own legs on the other.

      Sure, critics have called the show repetitive, but who can not get enough of those silly monkeys who haven't even discovered slood yet. Make sure to turn

  • Don't be sad! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Snaller (147050) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @10:41AM (#30376832) Journal

    You are still world leader in CO2 pollution!

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