3FN + FTC = Some Less Spam From Some ASNs

A research project I’m assisting at the University of Texas at Austin notes that:
On Tuesday 2 June 2009, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) took legal steps that shut down the web hosting provider Triple Fiber network (3FN.net).

Looking at Autonomous Systems (ASNs) listed in the spam blocklist CBL,

… there’s a clear pattern of increased or stable listings until 1 June, and then big decreases. The biggest drops come on 1 and 5 June.

It is perhaps significant that it was CBL that showed these results, since CBL is the blocklist that appears to concentrate most on tracking botnets. Unfortunately, even this relatively marked apparent effect of a hosting ISP shutdown was only short-lived. Botherders simply moved elsewhere, and spammers resumed spamming, using bots controlled from elsewhere, and often on different hosts. Real progress in fighting spam and bots will require more than the occasional intervention by the FTC.

I view this as yet more empirical evidence of what some of us have been saying for years now: as long as we cede the leverage of the Internet to the black hats, they’re going to win. More active cooperation among people using the Internet and those who want to keep it usable will be required to win.