China: Spam capital of the world?

The article reinforces the empirical findings from some spam mapping work we've been doing. Part of that work has been putting together a spammer social network based on collaborations and partnerships between different spammers. While the vast majority of spammers are based in the US there are a few key actors that link up the domestic slime with international slime hosting and zombie procurement. We've tried different arrest scenarios as well to see which key actors would have the most disturbance on the network by their removal. Since spammers still operate in a quasi legal environment their network is more susceptible to attack than similar criminal and terrorist network.

From an operational standpoint the argument goes that trying to solve spam with a purely technology based solutionis has some inherent troubles. Thus far technology based solution have, along with some success, also caused an escalating arms race with spammers, with increasing negative externalities. Heavy blacklisting and filtering led to the deployment of worms to create zombies to circumvent filters. The result is tit for tat responses that also create increasing problems for the Internet beyond just spam.

Currently there is little incentive for spammers not to spam. Certainly not the ca-spam act. I'm not saying technology solutions are impossible, just that they are not a silve bullet. On the upside, at least from preliminary research, going after the individual spammers can have an impact. The trick is you need a bigger stick to go after them with and penalities and arrests that cause a disincentive to spam. You'll never get everyone but if you can cause the cost of doing business as a spammer to increase tangibly I'd wager the impact would be significant. They operate on very slim margins and exceedingly low response / success rates.

Along those lines we are still working on a GIS databse of spammer addresses to do mapping and analysis, but still have a bit more to go on it. Just my biased 2 cents.