Spamhaus under attack from UK spammers

Spamhaus under attack from UK spammers

Summary: A law that the government said would clamp down on those who send millions of unsolicited junk emails is instead causing more hassle for anti-spam campaigners

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TOPICS: Tech Industry
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Pioneering anti-spam organisation The Spamhaus Project has begun receiving threats from spammers, many of whom appear to have moved into Britain following the establishment of controversial UK laws that ostensibly outlaw the spamming of personal email addresses.

Spamhaus founder Steve Linford revealed told the Openwave messaging anti-abuse conference in London this week that this legislation has had a counterproductive effect. "For the first time we have very tenacious spamming gangs setting up in the UK," said Linford. "And, for the first time, we have spammers threatening us with legal action."

Spamhaus tracks spamming operations across the world and operates a blacklist that helps ISPs to block some of the many millions of unsolicited junk emails they try and send every day.

Linford explained that spammers are now claiming that Spamhaus has no legal right to block them. Their argument, he said, revolves around the claim that the UK government has introduced the privacy and electronic communications regulations that explicitly bans some forms of spam, and that because they are acting within this law their activities are explicitly permitted.

When the government introduced the privacy and electronic communications regulations last December, it said they made it an offence for a UK company to send junk email or text messages, unless the recipient is an existing customer or has given their permission to receive such material. Firms who flout the law face a £5,000 fine for each breach.

However, this only covered individual email accounts and not corporate ones.

Linford claimed that the legislation fails to even protect individuals, because it is so difficult and time-consuming for the authorities to take action. The Information Commissioners office has already said publicly that it wants stronger powers and recently admitted that it didn't expect to bring any spammers to court this year.

The government, though, has so far refused to make changes to the law. The Department of Trade and Industry recently said that it would wait for the legislation to "bed in", a process that is likely to take several months.

Topic: Tech Industry

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7 comments
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  • Spamhaus also ruins legitamite uses of email.

    I am fighting Spamhaus and it has nothing to do with Spam.
    They totally have mislead the public into believe it is a legitamite service.

    While they do block spam, they also block thousands of legitamite personal and business emails, every single day.
    They dont have resources to maintain their lists , and they do not maintain an accurate list of spammers.

    Not only that, they illegally violate people's privacy by reviewing personal email as it is screened by their servers.

    It's just as bad as the spam itself . Companies will have to maintain their own lists to fight spam.

    I know of 10 companies that recently abandoned Spamhaus because of privacy violations and the blocking of legitamite email.
    anonymous
  • Martin,

    Hmmm, did you mean that Spamhaus.org had malicious intent to harm your business, or did you mean that your corporate server was blacklisted for having sent spam... and your legitimate mail was caught in the middle...

    Yes martin, they are protecting the rest of us from you, the useless IT guy that blames everything on somebody else.

    Theres a lesson to be learned here; make sure your IT department is competent enough that your servers aren
    anonymous
  • IPs are seldom exclusively owned by a known spammer.
    They use an IP, the move to another.
    Spamhaus will continue to block lPs, even after the spammer has long since abandoned them.

    They state that themselves on their website, that their service will block legit email.

    they state its a small % but thats based on comparing it with the volume of spam. One single lost email can cost a company thousands of dollars.

    if spamhaus.org was really interested in fighting spam , they would simply publish the list of IPs.
    they don't publish their list, god knows why, i guess to maintain their own relevance !!
    anonymous
  • Spamhaus Internet terrorists.

    Becoming what you oppose
    Editorial by Dave Hayes

    Many folks have asked me why I stopped "contributing" to the everlasting debates in NANA (news.admin.net-abuse.*). I generally respond with something along the lines of "I don't wish to become that which I oppose". Indeed, recently I've "plonked" several entities (among them the terrorists known as "spamhaus" and "spews") simply because I no longer wish to beat my head against the stone wall of ignorance.

    Terrorists? Yes that's right. One definition of "terrorism" is "attacking innocents in the name of your cause". Nowhere is this more ironic and extreme than in the deeds of my old nemesi, the anti-spammer zealotry collective, some of whom are now known as spamhaus and spews. The terrorism they practice is implemented in the form of "mail blacklists".

    Blacklists are not a new notion. In the 1950's, the infamous McCarthy blacklists contained names of "possible communists", which ultimately led us to a more sterile culture.

    The social costs of what came to be called McCarthyism have yet to be computed. By conferring its prestige on the red hunt, the state did more than bring misery to the lives of hundreds of thousands of Communists, former Communists, fellow travelers, and unlucky liberals. It weakened American culture and it weakened itself. ---Victor Navasky, Naming Names (New York: Viking Press, 1980)

    Modern internet technology has created our own version(s) of social blacklists. Many anti-spam zealots have turned to this method for freeing their mailboxes from spam. Simply expressed, these organizations maintain databases which are supposed to contain the IP addresses of known spammers. They then provide these databases to various electronic mail servers, so that the servers can reject email based on what's in these databases.

    The bottom line is, if the machine that sends your email is on this list, a number of mail servers will automatically reject all email from your server.

    If (and only if) they restricted these blacklists to actual spammers, I doubt very seriously that I would have problem with this practice. If we could trust human beings to maintain a logical and calm viewpoint about life, I doubt that I would have a problem with these blacklists. Unfortunately we cannot trust these things in either case.

    Fact: Spamhaus and spews have added innocent IP blocks to their blacklists.

    The anti-spammer idealotry goes like this: "Anyone who gets service from a network friendly to spammers is supporting the spammers and therefore our enemy." (The friend of my enemy is my enemy too?)

    So here's how this goes. Once a network provider is branded "a communist"...er excuse me..."a spammer", ALL of their IP ranges are blocked. Typically a network provider is providing services for smaller service providers, many of whom would never and have never engaged in spamming of any kind. No notice is really given on these blacklisting events, rather you find out when mail starts bouncing to some destination. Usually an end customer is the first to notice, and that customers is directed by the bounce to complain to...their own ISP!

    In essence, the customer is tricked into presenting the terrorist anti-spam agenda to the ISP. The ISP turns around and finds out that -their- provider (or provider's provider) is what the anti-spam zealots want "silenced". Until that target complies with their arbitrary agenda (usually of the form "stop spamming", but this is not always true...see below), everyone else has to suffer with electronic mail blocks.

    What's wrong with this? Everything.

    *

    First and foremost, the most often heard reason anti-spammers are so rabid about anti-spam is "it makes electronic mail unusable for average people". If this is true, then how does blocking innocent email help this situation? In fact, blacklisting innocents contributes to the problem. The hypocrisy here is so thick I doubt even a k
    anonymous
  • typical. Anytime anyone has something to say bad about spamhaus they are labled a spammer by some anonymous coward.
    anonymous
  • I live in Portugal and I can't send e-mail because of spamhaus.
    How do I get shot of this pest?
    anonymous
  • Spamhaus should give reasons

    I am an individual. Yesterday my server informed me that it was refusing my mail because I was listed at spamhaus. I scanned my machine and found that it was not infected. I asked to be delisted. Spamhaus' site said that it was my second delisting request - it was my first.

    If this happens to me again I will sue spamhaus for a tortious interference with my private mail. Spamhaus has just included my IP without giving any indication of what spam they claim it has sent out. It would be easy for them to categorise spam and speficy the category as a reason. They should also give dates, times and volumes alleged.

    If I am listed again by Spamhaus I will litigate.
    Techie_barrister