Tag Archives: University of Texas

FireEye’s Ozdok Botnet Takedown Observed

FireEye coordinated a takedown of botnet Ozdok or MegaD, on 5-6 Nov 2009, with cooperation by many ISPs and DNS registrars.

Good show! What effects did it have on spam? Not just spam from this botnet; spam in general.

Botnets and spam volume

This graph was presented at NANOG 48, Austin, TX, 24 Feb 2010, in FireEye’s Ozdok Botnet Takedown In Spam Blocklists and Volume Observed by IIAR Project, CREC, UT Austin. John S. Quarterman, Quarterman Creations, Prof. Andrew Whinston, PI CREC, UT Austin. That was a snapshot of an ongoing project, Incentives, Insurance and Audited Reputation: An Economic Approach to Controlling Spam (IIAR).

That presentation was enough to demonstrate the main point: takedowns are good, but we need a lot more of them and a lot more coordinated if we are to make a real dent in spam.

The IIAR project will keep drilling down in the data and building up models. One goal is to build a reputation system to show how effective takedowns and other anti-spam measures are, on which ASNs.

Thanks especially to CBL and to Team Cymru for very useful data, and to FireEye for a successful takedown.

We’re all ears for further takedowns to examine.


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, Continue reading

VZ Port 587: Good Try

Back in February, Verizon announced it would start requiring outbound mail go through port 587 instead of port 25 during the next few months. It seemed like a good idea to squelch spam. Most other major ISPs did it. People applauded Verizon for doing it.

Unfortunately, it seems that if it had any effect it was short-lived. Looking at anti-spam blocklists on a daily basis, a couple of Verizon Autonomous Systems (ASes), AS-19262 and AS-701, do show dips in blocklist listings on the blocklist PSBL in March. But they don’t last.

Spammers are very adaptable, partly because the botnets they use are adaptable. Good try, Verizon.

This information is from an NSF-funded academic research project at the University of Texas at Austin business school. Thanks to PSBL for the blocklist data.