Report: Spam reduced following Pricewert shutdown

Botnets appear to have suffered a big blow with the shutdown of Pricewert, resulting in the reduction of spam activities by 15 percent globally.

Dong Ngo SF Labs Manager, Editor / Reviews
CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews 3D printers, networking/storage devices, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.
Dong Ngo
2 min read
Cutwail's spam activities on Thursday as Pricewert got shut down. MessageLabs

It's been almost a week since the Federal Trade Commission had the allegedly rogue Pricewert ISP shut down, and it seems like the Internet has indeed been a safer, or I should say slightly less dangerous, place.

The FTC charged that Pricewert's distribution of illegal, malicious, and harmful content and deployment of botnets that compromised thousands of computers caused substantial consumer injury and was an unfair practice, in violation of federal law.

According to Symantec, the Cutwail botnet--one of the most notorious botnets, accounting for up to 35 percent of all spam in May across the globe--experienced a major blow to its track record after the shutdown late Thursday of Internet service provider Pricewert.

Another botnet Pricewert is allegedly involved with is the Pushdo, which was also reportedly affected. Both Pushdo and Cutwail reportedly used 3FN, one of the names Pricewert did business under, as botnet control servers.

According to the data released Monday by TRACElabs, the overall spam volume index has been reduced by 15 percent since Thursday. However the day-by-day number has gradually increased.

This means a couple of things.

First, either the timing of these changes was a coincidence or Pricewert was indeed involved in this nasty business. It's important to note that the company has not yet been convicted of any wrongdoings. The first court hearing is scheduled for June 15.

Second, it's likely that the spammers will soon recover from this heavy blow as many similar companies are based outside of the U.S., where the anti-spam laws are not strictly enforced.

Nonetheless this for now looks like an apparent victory for the authorities and for all the Internet users. In terms of its long-term impact on spam, Symantec's MessageLabs Senior Anti-Spam Technologist Matt Sergeant told CNET News: "For now, we will see spam levels lower than usual, but we expected the swift comeback of Cutwail. The spammers learned that they can't put all their eggs in one basket and need to have backup command and control."

It's indeed wait and see, but so far I personally have received less spam in the last few days. How about you? Share your thoughts about this case and your recent spam experience, in the comment area below.