Feeds

Savvis outed as big-time spam host

Sorry. We won't do it again

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Savvis, the big US corporate ISP, is to remove spammers from its books following pressure from anti-spam group Spamhaus. The pledge comes after a whistleblower, who had failed to persuade Savvis' management to put its house in order, was fired.

Alif Terranson, an engineer in charge with keeping Savvis's network clean, retaliated by publishing memos which reveal Savvis's attempts to help spammers stay in operation.

He also approached Spamhaus, which had monitored how Savvis had risen to become the second worst "spam-supporting ISP", since its purchase of Cable & Wireless America in March this year.

Previously, Savvis had had a good record, according to Spamhaus, which escalated steps slowly, to encourage the ISP to clean up its act. But the issue of Savvis's spam-friendly practices was brought to a head by the publication of the memos, which showed how Savvis helped penis pill peddlers to dodge blackhole listings by switching their IP addresses and swapping names.

Subversive business methods

These "subversive business methods" were criticised by some on Savvis' management team (such as Kris Kistler, director, infosec and abuse); but objections were ignored. Savvis made up to $2m a month from 148 of the world's most prolific spammers, Terranson told BBC radio. He said the number of spammers had risen since Savvis had acquired Cable & Wireless America, showing it was actively touting for business from spammers.

According to a leaked strategy memo, Savvis would lose between $250,000 to $2m a month in revenues if it booted spammers off its system, depending on where it decided to draw the line. Savvis says its monthly revenues from spammers were around $200,000.

Following publication of the memos, Spamhaus approached Savvis to spell out the consequences if it continued to help notorious spammers such as Eddy Marin stay online. Savvis would risk having its reputation trashed and email sent by clients blacklisted if it failed to mend its ways, it warned.

Steve Linford, a director at Spamhaus, described a three-hour conversation with Savvis chief exec Rob McCormick on Friday as friendly and the outcome positive.

Savvis is to adopt Spamhaus' Register of Know Spam Operations (ROKSO) as a criterion for booting recalcitrant spammers off its network. It reckons it inherited 40 of the world's worst operators when it bought Cable & Wireless America. Spamhaus puts the figure at 56, a discrepancy which might be explained by multiple listings.

Linford welcomes Savvis's change of tack: "We're very pleased to see Savvis has turned things around and pleased to work with them. As soon as an ISP agrees to do the right thing we want to help," he told El Reg. ®

Related stories

Spamming for Dummies
Spam King dodges $20m big stick
US, UK and Australia sign anti-spam act
Junk mail host nations named and shamed

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.