I received this news alert today from GigaLaw:
“The volume of junk e-mail sent worldwide plummeted after a Web hosting firm identified by the computer security community as a major host of organizations engaged in spam activity was taken offline. Experts say the precipitous drop-off in spam comes from Internet providers unplugging McColo Corp., a hosting provider in Northern California that was the home base for machines responsible for coordinating the sending of roughly 75 percent of all spam each day.”
75% of spam!? Here’s the link to The Washington Post story that prompted the GigaLaw alert. It doesn’t answer the questions hiding in GigaLaw’s use of the passive voice, such as who took McColo Corp. offline? On what authority?
Another Post story answers some of those questions: two “Internet Providers”–Global Crossing and Hurricane Electric–pulled McColo’s plug on Tuesday. Why Tuesday? A spokesman for Hurricane Electric said “We looked into it a bit, saw the size and scope of the problem [washingtonpost.com was] reporting and said ‘Holy cow!’ Within the hour we had terminated all of our connections to them. It appears Hurricane Electric acted unilaterally, although McColo has been on Internet security companies’ watch lists for some time. Why Tuesday and not, say, last month or last year? The timing is unclear. McColo reportedly was “hosting at least 40 different child pornography Web sites or sites that collect payment for the illicit content.”
Ironically, shutting down McColo may make it harder to track the illegal activity it hosts. The Post quotes a security consultant: “”Everything will just be more spread out and harder to mitigate . . . We rather like knowing where the bad activity is coming from, so protecting our networks is easier.”