On August 24, 2007 this article hit PC World as if it was news.
> "Spam Fighters Hit Criminals' Weak Spot
> For years, spam haters have relied on junk-mail
> filters and Internet blacklists, but some
> are saying it's time for a change in tactics."
Robert McMillan, IDG News Service, is only running a few years behind as he writes, and we quote:
> "Their answer: follow the money.
> And that means going after the Web sites
> where spammers sell their pharmaceuticals
> and watches and male enhancement products."
Hello? Where were they back in 1998 when this was the battle cry of the spam-fighting community?
Who's fault is it?
Well, the first disaster was
** the Clinton administration giving away the domain naming system (DNS) -- out of U.S. Federal control, making it easy for rogue registrars all around the world to extort the system for crime. But that wouldn't have been quite as possible if it weren't for
** Microsoft having such bad software. (Remember that only Windows computers can be infected with zombies and Trojans which do the dirty work for the criminals and terrorists -- aside from being so cheap they can be scooped up by anyone in any third-world country with a phone line.) Then there's
** ICANN. Yes, the international band of bureaucrats who can't even enforce or uphold their own regulations -- untouchable and invincable. And, lastly
** the computer industry at large for their blind profiteering on filters -- anything for a buck, right? (Remember, if it weren't for spam, they would be out of a job, right!) All the while, they continued to intentionally ignore the "spamvertiser" -- the guy who pays to have the spam sent, and stands to profit from the spam or the identities they steal.
More Heros on the Scene
However, I cite this story, and give congratulations to those involved because they have finally decided to take a proactive role in doing something about spam. Unfortunately it's way too late.
READ the story at:
www.pcworld.com/article/id,136367/article.html (Note: PC World articles seem to go dead or get 'lost' after a short time. Another article we attempted to cite is no longer available. We've cached this one in case its links go dead too.)
Garth Bruen, who runs the "knujon" volunteer project (circa 2005) focused on taking down the Web sites run by spammers says:
"This problem is not going to go away if you ignore it. Blocking and filtering is just a jacked-up technological form of ignoring. What you want to do is report it and make it difficult for these people to exist on the Net and do their transactions."
Duh. What have I been preaching for about ten years? Bruen's manifesto reads like notes taken from any number of my 60-Second Window articles and numerous rants in anti-spam forums. This time though, I hope someone listens.
I guess it took five years for the industry to wake up and realize that the piles of money they were making on spam filtering was leaving a monster yet to be exterminated. Their puny filters were doing nothing but fooling the users into thinking that they were actually fighting spam. Installing better locks doesn't stop the crime. Wonder why it took them so long to realize that?
What does KnujOn do?
* Sort through thousands of junk emails
* Compile data specifically for investigative purposes
* Build profiles of on-line scammers
* Track fraudulent activity
* Generate reports based on specific queries
(Essentially the same thing I've been doing for years, along with thousands of other individual spam fighters!)
So, get busy and join the fight.
Join knujon: www.knujon.com/sendusspam.html
You could also carry an email account at www.spamcop.net, who has been reporting spam for going on ten years, now, but they do no further processing or followup.
Another start-up is called "Castlecops" but they are approaching the reporting process all wrong -- as does the "Anti Phishing" organization. But you can dig in and find out about their program here: www.castlecops.com
Online crime and spam is not going away until there's an intelligent and unified front against it. The community and the public needs to get behind the war against online crime. Link to this page, tell your friends, join anti-spam organizations.
And... if you're still reading, and you really want to see something scary -- I leave this last tidbit to the end of this article knowing most of our readers don't have the stomach for it -- view this video news story which sheds light on the real dangers of allowing the internet to be out of control: Jihad 2.0 (video - sorry, you'll have to endure an advertisement first.)
Thanks for reading...
Fred Showker, Editor, Graphic Design & Publishing