The global amount of spam e-mail sent over the past two weeks has reduced drastically after two ISPs in the United States stopped offering service to a web hosting company involved in spam. San Jose, CA- based McColo Corp. also was involved in several criminal activities aside from spam, including child pornography, IronPort said.
One of the company's ISPs, Hurricane Electric, was shown evidence by a Washington Post reporter that McColo was involved in criminal activity, which led Hurricane Electric to pull the plug. Global Crossing also pulled the plug on McColo yesterday morning.
Spam monitoring groups said spam mail has decreased 70 percent after the company was booted off of the internet on November 11. Several of the largest botnets in operation were supported by McColo, and criminal organizations involved in child pornography used the McColo servers.
The company's web site, before it was taken down, promoted the company as a legitimate business operating out of Delaware, with servers located in San Jose. Its "partners" included Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard.
Although McColo is dead for now, actually filing charges and incarcerating the people behind the company will be extremely difficult -- especially since some of the company's backers are located in Eastern Europe.
McColo's main web site remains shut down.
Even though this seems like a victory, spam experts warn there will be a dozen other spammers ready to take McColo's place, and numbers will again increase. As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, spam levels, which typically increase during the holidays, are expected to rebound and increase over the next month and a half.
Governments are working closely with ISPs to try and identify and prosecute people who are believed to be spammers. More spammers in the United States are being punished by heavy fines and jail sentences, but if the spammers are located overseas, it becomes much more difficult to identify and prosecute them.
Several high-profile spammers over the past year have been shut down and given prison sentence, in a telling sign the U.S. government is ready to continue prosecuting spammers.