FTC takes down a spam provider

The FTC has launched legal action against a Californian web hosting service it says is responsible for botnets, malware, credit card theft and of course spam. The provider has been disconnected and its operators now face a lawsuit.

The FTC alleges that Pricewert/3FN operates as a “‘rogue’ or ‘black hat’ Internet service provider that recruits, knowingly hosts, and actively participates in the distribution of illegal, malicious, and harmful content,” including botnet control servers, child pornography and rogue antivirus products. 3FN also operates by the names APS Telecom and APX Telecom.

The provider is known as a frequent host of “scraper” or autoblog sites — fake blogs that re-publish unauthorized copies of content taken from other blogs, often sending spam pingbacks and trackbacks in the process.

Our sources indicate the network also provided services to several of the major forum and comment spammers. In particular, web sites owned by the developers of several spambot programs have been shut down (though we expect they will resurface elsewhere before long).

Of course if you’re using Akismet you won’t notice much of a difference: Akismet has long been highly effective at catching spam produced by their spambots and autoblogs.

Our stats suggest a significant and immediate drop in overall spam levels coinciding with the FTC’s action – on the order of about a 20% reduction (in spam that was or would be successfully caught by Akismet).

22 responses on “FTC takes down a spam provider

  1. Yeh!! I noticed a halving of my junk emails over the last week, this explains it – fantastic!!!

  2. My group blog has only been up two years. Akismet has caught over 55,000 (55k) worth of spam in that time.

    I love you guys. 😉

  3. I would not know where I am without Akismet. This plugin is essential for every wordpress blog. I have caught 7,525 spam comments so far – thanks for that.

  4. Well, Akismet has only been running for about 2 months (tops) on my WordPress, and hav e already caught 14,000+ evil spamcomments. I salute you.

    (Hopefully this number wont rise as fast as these news are saying that it probably wont)

    1. According to our sources some of the displaced spam businesses are negotiating with data centers in Europe. We expect they’ll be back up and running within a few days.

  5. Sweet! I am in the same boat as k00pa. I get about 20 to 30 spam comments a day and now I am down to about 2 – 3 a day. Way to go FTC and Askimet! That’s a few minutes a day I can have back now that I won’t have to spend reviewing and deleting spam.

  6. We do need to get rid of as much span as possible.

    In three around years Askimet has caught over 112,000 pieces of spam for me on just one blog.

  7. I can confirm that the amount of spam that surfaces on our site went down dramatically in the last few days. That’s a great thing, since while Akismet is great at checking for spam, it DOES slow down the system when there’s a thousand or so spam posts it has to check every day.

  8. Spammers need to be jailed when they are identified clearly as such. We need tougher laws against these people and punitive damages should awarded to legit server operators who are often overloaded by these scumbags!

  9. At first, this news is like a breath of fresh air since less spam means more time to focus on quality content.

    However…

    Let’s just hope this “clear abuse case” won’t serve as a foundation for some new federal legislation that’ll broadly hit anything resembling “dissidence” from “undesirables” because it could end up hurting a lot of innocent people.

    Take the airports, for example. Who would’ve imagined a day when trying to travel with a bottle of water would have you permanently added to a “watch / no fly” list and potentially labeled as a terrorist? This is sheer insanity! Yet, that’s where we are today because we’ve let the feds do away with “Patriot Act”-type laws which had foundations based on “apparent legitimity” but were, over time and behind closed doors, morphed into a sort of matrix of control, for “everyone else”.

    In other words, hurray for the lower spam count and let’s cross our fingers this doesn’t become a slippery slope towards a kind of “secret police” of the online world.

    I’ll keep my Akismet comment filter on, anyway ; )

  10. This thing is great. We’ve only been up for a short while and it’s been operating perfectly so far. Askimet has let NO SPAM go through!

  11. Okay, so spammer take note. Do not practice your nasty in the US. Hello, the FTC just encourages them to move over to .RU or .CN and spoof on their ISP via rerouting. I get so many .cn emails wanting me to optout, I’ve about had it and am changing my email address again. This time around, I’m using one for people that past my trust test (real people), and the other for the rest. Hope that helps. Why not puke on them all and ban any .RU or .CN website at the ISP level…

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