Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    8,944

    A Possible Way to Kill Spam -- By Halting Payments to Spammers

    As reported by the New York Times, in Study Sees Way to Win Spam Fight (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/20/technology/20spam.htm):

    [Researchers] have concluded an experiment that is not for the faint of heart: for three months they set out to receive all the spam they could (no quarantines or filters need apply), then systematically made purchases from the Web sites advertised in the messages.

    ...It turned out that 95 percent of the credit card transactions for the spam-advertised drugs and herbal remedies they bought were handled by just three financial companies — one based in Azerbaijan, one in Denmark and one in Nevis, in the West Indies.

    ...The computer scientists say that because the spam system relies on just a few banks and an even smaller number of credit card processors, the business is highly vulnerable to disruption by regulators and law enforcement agencies.

    ...The weak link in the system, the researchers noted, was that the Visa payment system handled the transaction between the customer’s bank in the United States and the bank in Azerbaijan.

    ...By blocking the transactions at the point at which the consumer uses a credit card, it is possible to shift the burden of cost to the spammer.

    “The defenders can, in principle, identify which banks the scammers are using far faster than they can get new banks,” Dr. Savage said, “and for basically zero cost.”
    To sum it up: Making purchases based on 1.2 billion spam messages received, researchers now believe that three financial companies are used by the vast majority of spammers. They argue that regulators or anti-spam advocates (or even Visa/Mastercard) should pursue/block these companies and thus try to stop funding to spammers. The implicit argument is that spammers are already blocked by PayPal and similar payment companies.

    What do you guys think? I agree in theory, to some degree, though the implementation could be difficult given spammer resources.

    -mike
    Mike G. - Limestone Networks - Account Specialist
    Cloud - Dedicated - Colocation - Premium Network - Passionate Support
    DDoS Protection Available - Reseller Program @LimestoneInc - 877.586.0555

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    949
    They'll just jump to another provider and so on so forth.
    Edrick Smith
    Film Production

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    364
    There will always be spam if it's profitable. If idiots didn't click on the links there wouldn't be a case for spam.

    Unfortunately unless you start shooting everyone that clicks on the link... there will always be plenty of idiots.
    Common sense is not so common.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    8,944
    Quote Originally Posted by Ricky Smith View Post
    They'll just jump to another provider and so on so forth.
    But given that the vast majority of spammers used three financial companies, isn't this the potential "choke point"?

    I agree that there are some limitations and uncertainties, but the idea sounds somewhat promising.

    -mike
    Mike G. - Limestone Networks - Account Specialist
    Cloud - Dedicated - Colocation - Premium Network - Passionate Support
    DDoS Protection Available - Reseller Program @LimestoneInc - 877.586.0555

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    438
    What an interesting experiment.

    What's dumbfounding to me, is that Visa seems rather harsh on even remotely shady practices (from what I've read on WHT and similar forums) -- how are these guys even able to operate given the Terminated Merchant File and PCI fines... all the horror stories you read around these forums?

    Almost seems like Visa is turning the other cheek in some instances.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    8,944
    Quote Originally Posted by gpl24 View Post
    What an interesting experiment.

    What's dumbfounding to me, is that Visa seems rather harsh on even remotely shady practices (from what I've read on WHT and similar forums) -- how are these guys even able to operate given the Terminated Merchant File and PCI fines... all the horror stories you read around these forums?

    Almost seems like Visa is turning the other cheek in some instances.
    I always assumed that Visa themselves usually focused primarily on chargeback rates. I've seen some of the ethical/moral/other qualms from processors, and not usually from Visa directly. What do you think?

    -mike
    Mike G. - Limestone Networks - Account Specialist
    Cloud - Dedicated - Colocation - Premium Network - Passionate Support
    DDoS Protection Available - Reseller Program @LimestoneInc - 877.586.0555

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    438
    I think it goes both ways. Both the processors and Visa themselves look out for #1 (their own skin), so I wouldn't doubt that in some cases, both are guilty are looking the other way; otherwise these shady businesses would have ceased to exist a long time ago.

    There are "high risk" processors, right? If that isn't turning the other cheek, I don't know what is. Some of them more or less advertise they'll accept questionable businesses. Not necessarily referring to porn or gambling sites, either.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Top Secret
    Posts
    11,686
    Spammers wouldn't exist if people didn't buy their spammed products
    WHMCS Guru - WHMCS addons, management, support and more.
    WHMCS Notifications Extended - Add slack, hipchat, SMS, pushover to WHMCS !!
    Always looking for Linux, WHMCS, Support Desk work. PM for details

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    6,482
    Quote Originally Posted by linux-tech View Post
    Spammers wouldn't exist if people didn't buy their spammed products
    Indeed.

    "An earlier study undertaken by the scientists showed that a single commercial spam e-mail campaign generated three messages for every person on the planet. That same study revealed that to sell $100 worth of Viagra, a spam provider needed to send 12.5 million messages."

    Wow
    █ | Brad - Hoopla Hosting - Email or add me to Gtalk! brad [at] hooplahosting.com
    █ | Web Hosting New Zealand - Reseller Hosting - cPanel - Zurmo Hosting - Softaculous - CloudFlare
    █ | VPS - SolusVM - E3-1230 - RAID10 - 1Gbit

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    8,944
    Quote Originally Posted by linux-tech View Post
    Spammers wouldn't exist if people didn't buy their spammed products
    Agreed. Every so often an acquaintance says something along the lines of, "I received an email out of the blue about <x> product and I think I'll buy it from them [the spammers]..." I try to explain the downsides to this.

    -mike
    Mike G. - Limestone Networks - Account Specialist
    Cloud - Dedicated - Colocation - Premium Network - Passionate Support
    DDoS Protection Available - Reseller Program @LimestoneInc - 877.586.0555

  11. #11
    They issue of spam is just like an amoeba, they keep changing their method of operation. Today you block their mode of funds transfer tomorrow they change tactics.

    The more we try to stop it, the more sophisticated they become.
    █▌ Cheapest Shared Hosting Solutions with 17+ Server Locations.
    █▌ Skrill, Perfect Money, AdvCash, Webmoney,OKPAY, Neteller, BitCoin, Payeer, STP.
    █▌ Web Hosting, Offshore Hosting, Reseller Hosting, VPS Hosting, Cloud Hosting by HostNesta.com!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    L.A., CA
    Posts
    3,706
    Uh, what exactly is there to change or adapt if they cannot accept visa and mastercard?
    Thats the end of the line. If you cant charge a CC to get the payment, then there are no sales, and there is no reason to spam.
    Since I would say 99.999% of spam purchases are processed through American companies --- Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, etc -- it wouldnt matter what country the banks are in once they lose their accreditation from Visa/MC to process Visa/MC cards.

    If the 3 banks get dropped by Visa/MC, then they cannot process any transactions.

    There's a reason those 3 are predominantly used. They are willing to accept the high risk merchants that are selling the spam.
    If they were not the only game in town, there would be a far larger disparity in the amount of banks used.

    If they cant process Visa/MC/Paypal, then they have no way to get your money. Thus, they are out of business.
    If Visa and MC just said that "we will not process spam-vertised products", it would basically put a halt to spam.

    Stop trying to fight the spammers sending the emails, and instead just tell the credit card processors to stop allowing them to collect the payments.
    It could be regarded as Visa/MC being accomplices or willing participants in the profiteering from spam and thus, illegally, turning a blind eye to the issue.

    Some lawyers could get a bunch of $$,$$$,$$$ from Visa/MC by suing them and then settling out of court to keep it from getting more attention.
    Last edited by ItsChrisG; 05-22-2011 at 04:24 AM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    4,845
    Why should they chance it when they can just wait out IPV4 depletion to clean house? There are simply way too many hosts willing to let spam slide for a nice pay cheque. There are simply way too many hosts willing to allocate large (/24) blocks with a cheap server just to land a sale. One of our old datacenters had a client on with 3 AMD X2's and a whole /21 sold to them just because they were tight on cash.

    When IP's are valued like gold and the DSNBL's are stricter on snowshoe spammers things will slow down a lot.

    Francisco
    BuyVM - OpenVZ & KVM Based VPS Servers - Chat with us
    - All popular VPN methods supported
    - Affordable offloaded MySQL & DDoS protection
    - 5GB backup space, unmetered private LAN bandwidth & native IPv6 included. All with a strong serving of pony

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Chennai
    Posts
    623
    Quote Originally Posted by Ricky Smith View Post
    They'll just jump to another provider and so on so forth.
    Even I think so. There are way too many people out there who just want money and are not caring about the way they earn it!!
    "You got a dream... You gotta protect it. People can't do somethin' themselves, they wanna tell you you can't do it. If you want somethin', go get it. Period." - Pursuit of Happyness

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Posts
    8,944
    Quote Originally Posted by CGotzmann View Post
    Some lawyers could get a bunch of $$,$$$,$$$ from Visa/MC by suing them and then settling out of court to keep it from getting more attention.
    Interesting idea. Sue Visa/Mastercard for (knowingly...?) facilitating the payments? What relevant legal statutes might apply?

    -mike
    Mike G. - Limestone Networks - Account Specialist
    Cloud - Dedicated - Colocation - Premium Network - Passionate Support
    DDoS Protection Available - Reseller Program @LimestoneInc - 877.586.0555

Similar Threads

  1. how do i kill spammers?
    By vajjas1 in forum Running a Web Hosting Business
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 08-03-2007, 06:39 AM
  2. how can i kill spam mail
    By elgeberymg in forum Hosting Security and Technology
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 08-02-2006, 05:45 PM
  3. How many spammers do you catch b4 they spam?
    By ArtieFishill in forum Running a Web Hosting Business
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 11-01-2004, 11:56 PM
  4. SPAM the spammers!!
    By openXS in forum Web Hosting Lounge
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 07-11-2004, 01:42 AM
  5. Spam: Who to kill?
    By ochiba in forum Web Hosting
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 03-03-2003, 01:30 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •