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16 November 2008

Major Internet Spam Firm Taken Down

"Located in a 30-story office tower in the heart of Silicon Valley, in downtown San Jose, a relatively small firm was involved in a full scale cyber crime network. The McColo Corporation operated the servers located within the building, and they were involved in hosting services for all types of firms that compromised computers to advertise counterfeit designer goods, pharmaceuticals, fake Internet security products and even child pornography by way of e-mail.

Viewing the company’s website is no longer possible, two Internet providers cut off McColo’s connectivity to the Internet. Almost instantaneously, security companies noticed a tremendous drop in the global volume of spam. E-mail security firm IronPort said that spam levels had fallen by almost 66% as of Tuesday evening.

Spam watchdog stated that there was a decline of 10 - 40 spam emails per second.

At this time, it is not known whether McColo be legally responsible will be for the activities of their clients. At this time there is no confirmation that the company has been charged with a crime.

Private security researcher Jart Armin has been documenting the activity of McColo. She mentioned that currently McColo is hosted at a minimum 40 different child pornography websites, or sites that collect payment for the content. A traffic analysis of one of the sites proved that each one of these sites were generating between 15,000 and 25,000 visitors daily.

For several months, cyber criminals have been utilizing servers at McColo to manage websites that send out new versions of the “Torpig” or “Sinowal” Trojan horse program that is one of the most stealthy malware programs in existence currently.

This is just one more successful move in the government’s quest to go more seriously after spammers. Last month, the FTC seized the assets of Herbal King that was in the business of selling counterfeit prescription drugs. This network was deemed the largest “spam gang” in the world. The spammers utilized the Mega-D botnet, which reportedly was able to send 10 billion e-mail messages per day."



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