The Spam Diaries

News and musings about the fight against spam.
 by Edward Falk

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A true Final Ultimate Solution to the Spam Problem?

A common acronym in spam-fighting is FUSSP — Final Ultimate Solution to the Spam Problem. It's used (usually derisively) to describe the latest proposed scheme to end spam once and for all. Usually these schemes are based on false assumptions or have already been tried with no results.

This time — be still, my beating heart — it looks like some researchers at the University of California might really be on to something.

According to the New York Times, researchers have discovered that 95% of drug and herbal remedy credit card transactions are handled through just three financial companies in Azerbaijan, Denmark and the West Indies. Presumably, if these companies could be persuaded to stop supporting spammers, then the money supply which drives spam would dry up, and the spammers would be forced to close shop.

The UC paper is available here (pdf).

I've said before that spam exists because ISPs tolerate it. This seems to hold true for financial institutions as well. If the financial institutions stopped abetting spammers, the theory goes, then spam would be significantly curtailed.

Of course, I don't have any illusions that this is the final solution to the spam problem. There will always be spam as the spammers find ways around the shut-down of their credit card processing suppliers. But as the shut-downs of major botnet command-and-contol centers in the past have shown, you can fight spam, if you're just willing to do it.


Blogger moshe said...

nice article.

4:28 PM  

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