In a new report, McAfee says spammers are taking to Web hosting services in a big way.
are increasingly turning to free-hosting Websites to provide spam URLs,
according to a new report from McAfee.
In its "January 2010 Spam Report," McAfee notes the
trend is turning into an
"all-out gold rush" as dozens of these free-hosting sites have sprung up to
provide Web space for anyone who requests it. According to the report, all of
the sites most heavily abused
seem to be related to 0catch.com, which serves up a number of
free-hosting sites to anonymous users.
These types of services
are good for spammers because such sites may have been around for a while and
have legitimate traffic associated with them, the report explained.
That edge could give spammers
a few hours'
worth of an edge against anti-spam vendors before they can
blacklist the host, the report warns.
Just what should be done
about these services is a difficult question, opined Adam Wosotowsky, the
anti-spam technology lead for McAfee labs and co-author of the report.
"The application of
excessive regulation doesn't fit with the Internet," he told eWEEK. "There shouldn't
be a law against someone in a college [computer science] class putting up a new
Facebook, and if everyone just loves it and it grows with all the strength of
an Internet fad, then it seems illogical that it should reach some sort of
legal barrier past which it is liable for the activities of its users, but
before which it was classified as a startup Website. On the other hand,
the safety of the browsing public must be a part of a successful business, and
it doesn't seem like too much to ask that something be done to deal with
The researcher said he
would like to see more security technologies brought to bear within free
hosting sites to fight spam and viruses.
"I know that some stuff is
done, but I don't know how technologically savvy it is," Wosotowsky said.
"Concepts that helped build trusted source could just as easily be applied to
Yahoo Groups to identify problematic sites."
Spam volumes shot up Dec.
14 after trending downward for more than a month, according to the McAfee
report, with much of that boost coming in the form of a Chinese pharmacy spam.
The resurgence of spam from China
came at a time when the
its domain registration process
, which some researchers predicted will
actually help combat malicious activity.
modified their e-mails to use free hosting domains in response, he said.
"I take the fact that the
spammers had to switch from a long-standing registrar to be a good sign when
placed against the backdrop of just how difficult it must be for China
to manage its kingdom,"
said Wosotowsky. "That they switched to another Chinese registrar is
the one step back after the two steps forward. Time will tell if the cleanup
continues, but it is not difficult to imagine in a country as complex as China that it will take some time for
enforcement to catch up with the will of the leaders."