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How Powerful are Spammers?
10/27/2005
By Simbey

Does anyone really know how powerful spammers are?  Most of us get spam.  Some of us get quite a bit of spam.  And sometimes we hear about spam rings and lawsuits against or from spammers on the news.  But unless you run an E-Mail server, you may not have any idea just how much power and control spammers actually have.

Sadly for you, the hapless Internet surfer who stumbled across this website by mistake, I do run an E-Mail server, and I'm going to show you just how powerful spammers are.

This first screenshot shows a list of connections timing out, one right after the next.  In the world of legitimate E-Mail, this should almost never occur.  But in the world of spam, if a spammer receives a rejection, it isn't worth his time to gracefully shutdown the connection and move on.  After all, he has millions of letters to send, and a million graceful connection closures after being rejected could add up to quite a bit of lost time.  They need that time.  They need you to know about v1agr@ and financial opportunities in Africa.


The next screen shot shows you what spammers do when they're rejected.  If you don't first succeed, try and try again.  Do you see any connection closures between attempts?  Neither do I.  They just keep on trying until they're successful.  I've seen this persist for more than an hour at a time!  At some point, of course, they do have to admit defeat and move on, but they always come back the next day.


I would assume they're sending spam to multiple servers concurrently, but they only seem to attack my server serially.  This is what leads me to believe all the attacks that come in these waves are related.  This is also proof of how powerful spammers really are.

Sometimes in the news you hear about zombie computers used to send spam, but seeing is believing.  This is clear evidence that the largest spam rings have well organized networks and coordinated software to instigate these attacks.  It is also likely these are the same networks used for executing denial of service attacks and other similar forms of network disruption.

It's actually quite startling when you think about all of this.  Spammers should not be this powerful.  They should be in jail.  Something somewhere has gone terribly wrong.

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