1 YOU ARE SPAMMING YOURSELF RIGHT NOW
About 74.4 percentof all spam came from Internet addresses in the United States. Why?Spammers infect unprotected personal computers with viruses to do theirdirty work. More computers with high-speed Internet connections meanmore raw material for spammers. Criminals link hijacked personalcomputers together to form “botnets”—clusters of infected PCs thatspammers can control from anywhere in the world.
2 MADE IN TAIWAN
Taiwan, a country with weakly enforcedspam laws, proved to be a major source of Internet mayhem. By settingup “honeypots”—dummy computers that spammers unknowingly incorporateinto their botnets—the spam-blocking company Ciphertrust discoveredthat 3,200 of about 5,000 botnet-controlling servers are located inTaiwan. Last December, the world got a break: A 7.1 magnitude underseaearthquake damaged cables and caused a massive but temporary drop inspam.
3 SCOTLAND YARD FOR E-MAIL
London is home to the SpamhausProject, a volunteer task force that hunts down the most notoriousspammers. Tracking down just one spam kingpin can take years, but thatcan lead to a major bust. Last May, after a two-year search, a U.S.judge sentenced Jeanson Ancheta to nearly five years for a 14-monthspree in which he hijacked 400,000 personal computers and sold thestolen computing power to spammers.
4 BAD IN BRAZIL
In economically depressed countries likeBrazil, junk e-mail can mean mucho dollars. Some schemes can earnspammers more than a 5 percent average return—as much as tens ofthousands of dollars—on their investment in a single day.
5 FROM RUSSIA WITH SPAM
Of Spamhaus’s purported “Top 10Worst Spammers,” six are from Russia and Ukraine. Spamhaus’s reportedczar of the spam world, Alex Polyakov, heads a web of mortgage,pharmacy, and child-porn spam gangs. Polyakov continues to reap successby fooling the latest e-mail filtering technologies with digitalimages. This textless tactic increased data traffic on e-mail serversby 334 percent last year. “The data volume is causing a meltdown ofe-mail infrastructures,” says Postini spokesman Daniel Druker. “Serverscan’t keep up.”