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Google picks up third spot in spam-friendly shame list

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Google has leapfrogged Microsoft to reach third place in a blacklist of spam-friendly ISPs and hosting firms, compiled by anti-spam organisation Spamhaus.org.

Microsoft, which cropped up at fifth place on the November edition of the same list, has cleaned up its act to the extent that it no longer appears in the rogues' gallery of the ten internet firms that are slackest in dealing with junk mail problems. Previously Microsoft's live.com and livefilestore.com web properties were soft targets for penis pill purveyors, advance fee fraudsters and other junk mail swine, but this has changed over the last month or so.

In the latest edition of the list, Google domains posed a far greater problem, making it onto the roll of dishonour for the first time. Data from the Spamhaus Blocklist (SBL) database points to 31 spam-related issues on Google domains. Lack of diligence on Google's part means that 419 fraudsters are using Gmail, Google Docs has become a channel for spam redirection as well as "seemingly endless abuse" on Google's blogspot.com, according to Spamhaus.org.

By comparison the worst offender on the list - Turkish telco Sistemnet - has 40 reported issues.

"Microsoft got rid of the bad guys, and off they went to Google, which is now hosting a lot of the stuff that was on Microsoft's domains," said Richard Cox, Spamhaus's chief information officer. Google told SecurityFix that it had begun implementing controls to address the Google Docs spam redirection issue, after already disabling Gmail accounts associated with 419 scams.

Spamhaus explains that although all ISPs and hosting firms claim to be against junk mail, some continue to sell hosting services to spammers or "do nothing to prevent spammers operating from their networks".

"The majority of the world's service providers succeed in keeping spammers off their networks and work to maintain a positive anti-spam reputation, but their work is undermined daily by the few networks who, out of corporate greed or mismanagement, choose to be part of the problem." ®

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