North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Is there a technical solution to spam?

  • From: Richard Cox
  • Date: Tue Jul 29 13:42:51 2003

(Subject line & quotes adjusted to avoid infringing Hormel's trademark!)

On 29 Jul 2003 13:24 UTC Michael.Dillon@radianz.com wrote:

| Anyone who believes that spam can be solved by technical means
<snip>

is missing the point completely.

Social controls placed on spam by some network operators, and by
recipients, have led the senders to adopt techniques that challenge
the security of the parts of the internet that we have to manage.

An obvious example is the compromising of user machines by viruses
such as Jeem, SoBig-E, etc: by compromising these machines, some of
which are connected (almost) 24/7, with the intention of their being
used to send untraceable spam, has prepared those same machines for
other nefarious use, such as Distributed Denial of Service attacks.

| the solutions will be found in the social, political and legal
| spaces, not in network engineering.

The solutions may well be found there but will be unimplementable
without much needed support from the operators - particularly the
major backbones - who currently turn a blind eye to protect their
revenue.  To see which these operators are, read:

http://groups.google.com/groups?dq=&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&selm=vi1vl24ue5hm72%40corp.supernews.com&rnum=1

| Some combination of education and training, new laws, arrests
| and public trials will be needed to get rid of it.

None of which will be possible without adduceable evidence.  This will
lead to onerous compliance and logging requirements being imposed on
all operators as a result of past non-cooperation by a small subset.
Had that subset co-operated from the start, the extra duties that are
likely to cause us all extra work would never have become necessary.

| In any case, I suggest that we should ban all future discussion of
| spam and spammers from this mailing list since it is not related to
| network engineering or operating an IP network.

That's already the case, but discussion of the security issues that
result from the activities of spammers still seems to be unavoidable.

-- 
Richard Cox
RC1500-RIPE