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More pink spam contracts come to surface.

By mrsam in Culture
Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 09:20:02 AM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)
Internet

Last week, right here on kuro5hin.org, we reported the controversy about a "pink" spam contract from att.net, where att.net agreed to provide web hosting for spammers. Many here doubted that a large Internet backbone could possibly allow spamming on their network. It must've been some mistake, right? There's no way that a large Internet backbone could possibly sanction spamming under any circumstances, right?

Well, if you have a spare $27,000 burning a hole in your pocket, just walk right down the hall to psi.net, and sign up for your very own spam-all-you-want account.


The Spamhaus Project, which originally broke news on the AT&T pink contract, has furnished documentation to CNET about a $27,000 pink contract package that a known spam mailer, Cajunnet, has paid to psi.net, for the privilege of directly sending spam from the psi.net backbone. Unlike AT&T, psi.net is quoted by CNET as intending to continue to provide Internet connectivity to the spammer in question. CNET notes that Cajunnet has already been kicked off UUNET and AT&T (!) for spamming, but apparently have managed to easily come to terms with PSI.net. Despite PSI.net's Terms Of Service that explicitly prohibits spamming, CNET quotes a PSI.net general manager stating, in essence, that this policy has been waived in liew of the $27,000 spam premium.

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Related Links
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o AT&T pink contract
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o PSI.net's Terms Of Service
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More pink spam contracts come to surface. | 9 comments (9 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
PSI.net has dug in its heels. (3.00 / 4) (#1)
by mrsam on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 04:17:39 AM EST

Folks, PSI.net is on the warpath. They believe that they are big enough that they can do anything that they like. Unlike AT&T, which quickly folded and canned their pet spammer, PSI.net has stated that they intend to continue to allow this spam mailer to directly spam from their network.

My earlier prediction that AT&T was going to be the first globally-blacklisted backbone was apparently wrong. Looks like it's going to be PSI.

Inflammatory (4.00 / 5) (#2)
by tstorm on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 04:48:14 AM EST

Folks, PSI.net is on the warpath. They believe that they are big enough that they can do anything that they like.

The CNET article has quite a bit of information on the financial trouble PSINet has been having as of late. This hardly seems like the right time to go on a "warpath" against the Internet. Let's not make the issue into something it's not. PSINet definitely has a problem if it's intentionally hosting known spammers, but lets not pretend they're doing it out of some superiority complex or deep-seated hostility they feel toward the rest of the Internet.

[ Parent ]
What makes you say that? (3.33 / 3) (#4)
by pw201 on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 08:59:01 AM EST

PSI.net has stated that they intend to continue to allow this spam mailer to directly spam from their network.

They did? The CNET article doesn't explicitly state that, and I can't find anything on n.a.n-a.e saying that. What's your source?

Another question: has anyone submitted an RBL nomination for Cajunnet and for PSI? Cajunnet should definitely go in. PSI arguably should too, although that'll be a tough one for the RBL as the amount of legitimate mail getting bounced may cause a lot of RBL users to stop using it. OTOH I can't see how the RBL folk can maintain their credibility if they don't blackhole PSI after this.

[ Parent ]

Correct me on this ... (2.00 / 3) (#5)
by Simon Kinahan on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 10:05:32 AM EST

.. but isn't the RBL a list of open relays that could be used to relay spam ? rather than a list of actual spammers ?

Simon

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
You're thinking off the RSS (4.33 / 3) (#6)
by pw201 on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 11:23:30 AM EST

MAPS runs more than one DNS based blacklist. The Relay Spam Stopper (RSS) list does what you describe. The Realtime Blackhole List (RBL) contains IPs of organisations who send spam, whether by open relays or not, and also spam supporters (web providers for spammers, and so on). The Dial Up List (DUL) is a list of the dynamically allocated IP addresses ISPs use for their dialup connections. Since these hosts should be using the ISP's smarthost, blocking connections from these stops the direct-to-MX spam, where the spammer doesn't use an open relay or his own ISP's relay but goes straight to the mail exchanger for your domain. The DUL is bad news for people running Linux on a dial-up and trying to be their own smarthost, but it's a small price to pay, I think.

Have a look at MAPS's website for more info.

[ Parent ]

nope (1.66 / 3) (#7)
by delmoi on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 11:25:33 AM EST

ORBS is the list of open relays, RBL is a list of known spammers
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
ORBS isn't MAPS, though (3.66 / 3) (#9)
by pw201 on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 05:43:34 PM EST

RSS is the relay blocker from MAPS (ie the people who do the RBL). ORBS is something else. ORBS is quite contraversial: it lists people who deny the ORBS probes because they consider them to be net-abuse themselves, for example. OTOH because they allow pre-emptive testing, rather than requiring to see a spam sent via the relay as RSS do, they probably have the biggest database of open relays (though I'm not about to try a zone transfer of both of them to find out: I don't think RSS will let me do that, anyway).

[ Parent ]
Awwww. Poor PSINet. (4.20 / 5) (#3)
by domesticat on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 08:35:56 AM EST

I'm not too worried about these guys. I'm betting they don't survive too much longer anyhow:
PSINet has come under increasing pressure to boost revenues of late. Last week the company reported a loss of $1.4 billion, or $7.34 per share, partly because of the discontinuation of its Xpedior unit, and pledged to reduce spending by $100 million to $200 million. Analysts had expected the company to lose $1.28 per share, according to First Call/Thomson Financial.
<snip>

The company's stock is down more than 90 percent for the year. The issue now trades at around $2, down from a 52-week high of $61.92.

They're currently listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange, and they're bordering on delisting anyhow. (Delisting, according to my cheery sysadmin friend who works for Nasdaq, occurs when a stock closes under $1.00 for a month. Given PSINet's stock prices lately, I think they're headed that way. Yeah, what they're doing blows. But they're in such deep shit anyway, I think this is the least of their worries. They're trying to keep the rest of their staff from jumping ship (especially the ones who were promised stock options in the $40-$60 range) and trying to keep their financers from killing them. Just wait a little longer. They'll implode.


[ boring .sig here ]
Unfortunately... (4.66 / 3) (#8)
by spaceghoti on Tue Nov 07, 2000 at 03:53:46 PM EST

It isn't so much the fact that PSI.net did this because they're in dire financial straits. It's about the fact that they did it at all. It's the precedent that bothers us.

Every now and then I get a spam that advertises spam lists. Part of the advertisement always includes a statement similar to "bulk email advertising WORKS!" That's all these people care about. They'll inconvenience you, DDOS your email server and risk all sorts of punitive measures so long as they can make a buck. One of the things RBL attempts to do is convince spammers that spam doesn't work.

PSI.net signs a contract giving permission to a spammer to use their service as a spam domain. This precedent is going to justify spammers and give them hope that they can find a home to spam from without fear of punitive measures. And we start all over again.

Whether or not PSI.net goes under is irrelevant. They're giving spammers reason to believe that another company will give them the means to distribute their spam.



"Humor. It is a difficult concept. It is not logical." -Saavik, ST: Wrath of Khan

[ Parent ]
More pink spam contracts come to surface. | 9 comments (9 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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