spammer spams for an entire weekend until his account is yanked,
I've picked that fragment out of context only as an example of the
larger religion that holds "most spam is forged" as an article of
faith. If you watch much spam without religious blinders, you know
that the religion that enough ISPs care about spam is delusional.
Consider the many entries in the SPEWS, SBL, and MAPS RBL blacklists.
If accounts were yanked within a business day, then the major DNS
blacklists would be useless instead of good for stopping 40-80% of
spam with low (at least for the SBL and RBL) false positives. If
accounts were terminated with dispatch, then by the time entries were
added to the blacklists, the spammer would already be gone.
Then there is the fact that often nothing more than pro forma account
yanking is done. For example, if you read carefully the recent accounts
of Earthlink's efforts against the Buffalo Spammer, you might wonder
how Earthlink spent millions of dollars and months of technician and
inside lawyer time chasing and not finding the spammer, but the outside
lawyer pinned him in days. I've heard privately of cases of large,
telco-related ISPs that could not stop a spammer known by name and
address from using stolen hundreds of credit card numbers and that
supposedly had to be told by outsiders (who were neither lawyers nor
telco experts) about 1-800 ANI, the courts, and so forth. I trust
these oddly unsuccessful or uninformed ISP employees are doing their
best, but something smells.
That pro forma account yanking is analogous to the pro forma financial
accounting of the dot-bombs. Until there is a real accounting, things
continue. Until organizations like UUNet care enough about spam to
not just whine about the impossibility of determining which customer
of a reseller is a spammer and seriously consider terminating the
reseller, spam cannot be reduced by technical mechanisms.
Vernon Schryver vjs(_at_)rhyolite(_dot_)com