Feeds

ICANN refuses to pull Spamhaus domain

Fears over loss of junk mail blacklist recede

Security for virtualized datacentres

Internet governance organisation ICANN has said it does not have the authority to suspend the website of The Spamhaus Project.

An Illinois court last week proposed pulling Spamhaus.org in response to a lawsuit brought against the anti-spam organisation by an company it accuses of spamming.

The threat of domain loss came after the anti-spam organisation refused to comply with a September ruling by a US court requiring it to pay $11.7m in compensation to e360 Insight, pull the organisation's listing, and post a notice stating that it was wrong to say e360 Insight was involved in sending junk mail.

In the proposed court order, published last week, Judge Charles Kocoras of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois calls on either ICANN or Tucows, the Spamhaus.org registrar, to pull or suspend the domain in response to Spamhaus's non-compliance with the court's original ruling.

Spamhaus chief executive Steve Linford said that suspension of its domain could create an "enormous amount of damage on the internet".

ICANN's stance of declining authority on the affair passes the onus onto Tucows, the Spamhaus.org registrar. Since Tucows is based in Canada, and not the US, it's in a much better position to decline to apply the court's request. So the threat of the loss of Spamhaus's domain appears to have receded, at least for now.

UK-based Spamhaus Project declined to defend itself in the case, arguing that the US courts lack jurisdiction. The voluntary organisation ignored the Illinois court on principle amid concern that fielding a defence might open it up to a barrage of nuisance lawsuits by spammers.

The loss of the Spamhaus domain would, at minimum, reduce the effectiveness of its services. Spamhaus maintains a blacklist of IP addresses used by spammers that's widely used by ISPs and organisations as a "first-level defence" in weeding out junk mail traffic. According to Spamhaus, its list help block 50bn spams per day.

Suspending its services could potentially result in a huge increase of unwanted junk hitting mail server queues all over the world. ISPs and end-users commonly use other spam-filtering techniques independent of Spamhaus so all these extra spam messages would not necessarily hit users inboxes. Removal of Spamhaus's services would still, however, put an additional unwarranted burden on computing infrastructures.

In technical terms, Spamhaus could move onto a separate domain not under US control, but such an action might leave it at risk of being held in criminal contempt by US judges. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.