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Hurricanes Affecting Spammers? 277

Ant writes "According to BusinessWeek Online's article, Lots of folks think the hurricane hits in Florida, the Sunshine (and Spam!) State have taken slowed the volume of spam." I've not noticed any decrease.
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Hurricanes Affecting Spammers?

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  • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:00PM (#10270224)
    From the blurb:
    I've not noticed any decrease.

    From the article:
    But daily results posted by MessageLabs, Earthlink (ELNK), and Symantec (SYMC) showed little correlation.

    And neither has anyone else. It was only a single institution that claimed their weekly spam traffic was down 100 million messages. The article mentions that two top 10 spammers remained in the top 10 even during the storms. They even (hopefully) jokingly claim it was a heroic effort.
    • by morcego ( 260031 ) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:18PM (#10270506)
      Yes, of course I have not RTFA.

      On the other hand, I have noticed a slight decrease on the number of spams both me and my clients receive during the last 5 days. Something like 3-10% decrease.

      On the other hand, this have happened before, even with no hurricanes looming over Florida.

      This kind of assumption if very dangerous. Just because for some reason we have some decline on the number of spams, it doesn't mean any single facts from the news is responsible by it. Anything, including a heavy spammer motherboard burning can be responsible by it. This kind of thing is very hard, if not impossible, to prove.

      And we can predict (*crystal ball growing*) that the number of spams will increase again soon.
    • Look aut this annotated spamcop graph [hoila.com].

      The number of spam-reports sent by spamcop is surely related to the amount of spam received at various inboxes, although also affected by other variables (such as changings in the parser algorithm by spamcop).


  • by nuclear305 ( 674185 ) * on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:01PM (#10270235)
    "Lots of folks think the hurricane hits in Florida, the Sunshine (and Spam!) State have taken slowed the volume of spam."

    Lots of folks think there are black helicopters poisoning the citizens of our country too, but that doesn't make it the slightest bit true.

    According to my Spam Stats [imagetown.net] (Coral Link [nyud.net]) the level of spam going through my server is relatively steady.
  • by lpangelrob2 ( 721920 ) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:01PM (#10270239) Journal
    If they think hurricanes in Florida did a decent job of taking out some spammers, they should wait 'til the next 6.0M+ earthquake hits Silicon Valley...
    • The 1989 Loma Prieta quake had a magnitude of 6.9 and affected the entire San Francisco area. The InterNet and computers did not go down, except in the few places that lost power.
      • Seriously, how much was the "Internet" used in '89? One could argue that San Francisco probably was one of the most important nodes in the 'net back then, and so disruptions there should have had a huge impact, as opposed to today, when things are more distributed. On the other hand, the whole network is so complex that a major disruption there today may well bring a lot of traffic to a standstill.
        • by ikluft ( 1284 ) <ik-slash&thunder,sbay,org> on Thursday September 16, 2004 @07:32PM (#10272581) Homepage
          Let's clear up a few things. Yes, the Internet was in use in 1989. We had been calling it "Internet" since 1986. Before that, it was a US government experiment called ARPANet, which was not open to civilians except for government sponsored research. But after 1986-7, the experiment was over, and the public Internet was begun. Years of experimentation was still needed before the public would begin to embrace the technology. At the time, we couldn't imagine the general public would ever understand the concept of a computer network. Though we sometimes talked about projections of Moore's Law growth of the Net, which indicated it had to happen eventually. We wondered if that would be the end of Moore's Law, or if the public could actually use the Internet.

          Back then, if you used the Internet, it was all a text-based interface. You'd log in to other machines by telnet. File transfers were by FTP. IRC was established in 1988 but not well known until the 1990's. (I ported IRC to HP/UX, sent the patches to the author, and didn't touch it again for over a decade because it looked addictive.) HTTP (the protocol of the web) wasn't invented until 1990.

          I was a Computer Science student at California State University, Chico at the time. I think it was a great time to be studying Computer Science and networking.

          By 1989, the Internet was already an international network spanning the US and all its Cold War allies (western Europe, Japan, Australia, etc.), with hundreds of thousands of users. The vast majority of users at the time were at large corporations, educational institutions and government/military sites. Direct access from residences was not yet common, though there were already some at the time. A lot of e-mail at the time was still transported in batch mode via UUCP over 1200-2400 baud phone modems, using the Internet only as a backbone along a multi-hop e-mail forwarding path.

          The Internet has always had some decentralization by design - it was designed by the US military to be decentralized so that there was no center of the network for an enemy to attack. Even after it went into civilian use, that was enough for it to "stay up" through the 1989 quake even though some sites went down.

          In 1989, San Francisco wasn't the center of the Internet or the quake - San Jose/Silicon Valley was. The World Series at Candlestick Park, the Bay Bridge collapse and the I-880 Cypress Freeway collapse that most of you saw on TV were all 80-100 miles from the epicenter, which was in the mountains spanning a 35-mile segment of the San Andreas fault between San Jose, Santa Cruz and Watsonville.

          However, many phone switches in the region crashed when SF's phone switches went off-line. Most of the phone outages were just due to too many people picking up their phones to make phone calls at the same time after the quake, which happens after every quake.

          Even so, many direct-connected Internet sites took as long as a few days to get back online. So as far as disasters go, it was comparable to Florida's hurricanes.

          Anyway, so that's a bit of the history. It was a well-documented quake so there's a lot of history to look up if you want to. Some of our younger readers were too young to be aware of it at the time, or not even born yet. The 15th anniversary of the quake will be next month on October 17. Those of us who were in or near the area still remember where we were at 5:04PM, or shortly thereafter when we first heard about it. I was just far enough away in Chico that I didn't feel it. (My parents lived in San Jose at the time and I had been here for both of the 5.1/5.8 pre-shocks, so I was very interested.) But others in Chico either felt it (in tall buildings), saw chandeliers sway or saw swimming pools start sloshing. Many in the US learned about it quickly because of the World Series (baseball) - it was San Francisco vs Oakland and the game was just about to begin. Live news coverage had just begun and all the satellite uplinks were already reserved and live when the quake hit so the media couldn't have been more prepared to cover a major quake. So you'll find a lot of info about it out there.

          • Yes, I'm very well aware of the history, DoD, ARPAnet, all that. My question was more of the evolution of data pathways since then, how a disaster in one area can/can not be gotten around today, and so forth. You touched upon a lot of that in your decentralization argument.
        • Another counter example is the 2003 great blackout. Most of the US InterNet operated fine during and after this incident. Another result of decentralisation.
  • decrease? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Quasar1999 ( 520073 ) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:01PM (#10270244) Journal
    No, silly, spam is situated in California... The porn sites people sign up for are situated in Florida... Porn spam is down, overall spam is not.
  • by nb caffeine ( 448698 ) <nbcaffeineNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:01PM (#10270246) Homepage Journal
    and for the first time in months, no spam! Havent cleared it in days. Theres usually 100+ pieces in there, and now none! Not that this is evidence or anything, but interesting nonetheless...
  • by maxchaote ( 796339 ) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:01PM (#10270250)
    Working in the internet marketing industry (not spam) I can tell you that Boca Raton in particular has a reputation for being host to some extra-shady operations.
  • by filtur ( 724994 ) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:02PM (#10270263) Homepage
    Someone is picking up the slack somewhere I'm sure.

    At least I'm still get personal emails from high ranking democrats, why just today John Kerry himself sent me one.

    • Wait till tomorrow and he'll send you one reversing his position from the one he sent you yesterday.
    • It must be me. I've seen a torrent of spam in the last week, easily two to three times as much as I normally get.
    • At least I'm still get personal emails from high ranking democrats, why just today John Kerry himself sent me one.

      Careful, I got one of those, but upon further inspection, it turned out to be a scam - just like all those e-mails you get from PayPal and US Bank. I reported it to Kerry's abuse team; they thanked me and said they'd investigate.
  • So what... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:02PM (#10270264) Homepage Journal

    Just as Microsoft learned when they had a DDoS against their DNSs and subsequently went to Akamai, the spammers will learn from this. After all, email is their livelyhood.
  • by supernova87a ( 532540 ) <kepler1@COBOLhotmail.com minus language> on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:03PM (#10270271)
    If it's true, then let's not waste another moment -- blast a trench and cut the whole state off from the country while we have the chance! It'll solve a bunch of other problems in November too....
    • Just be sure when you blast the trench it leaves Talahassee on your side. Florida is really two states: The North is part of the southern US, and the South is a carribean nation. We call it Floribea.

    • That would also take care of the Nigeria-mail, unresponsive ISPs, undecisive electorates and ....

      upcoming Chad Fiasco (it still amaze me that some counties are still going with punch cards this Nov.).
    • If it's true, then let's not waste another moment -- blast a trench and cut the whole state off from the country while we have the chance!

      Remember the attack on Florida at the beginnning of the last Enterprise season? The one that blasted a trench through the state of Florida? Evidently your post went through a time warp and started the whole thing.

    • What we're going to do soon is build a river... A river of freedom. A river of hope. A river which runs from coast to coast that cuts us off from the 47 states of wastrels and bad influcences to the north. We are going to cut Florida off from the mainland of our oppressors and float out to sea. Then, the nation of Florida will be free to start over. There're be no long-ass lines at the Log Flume or Pirate Ship ride when I take over! You and the kids will be able to ride the rides all day! We will have a rol
  • No Change? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Malevolyn ( 776946 ) * <signedlongintNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:04PM (#10270303) Homepage
    I've actually noticed an increase. They're getting spam through SpamAssassin, now.
  • ...the hurricane has increased the number of articles and reports about hurricanes. There is a direct relationship. I haven't run any analyses on it yet, but my hunch is that we can find a statistically significant result.

    But seriously, why write this puff piece? Take a look at this quote form the article: "The bottom line: Nature's wrath on spammers makes for an eye-grabbing fable. But more likely, neither rain, nor snow, nor slashing winds will keep unsolicited e-mail from its appointed rounds." Sheesh!
  • The old sayings still hold true in the digital age.
  • by Myrrh ( 53301 ) <redin575NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:09PM (#10270371)
    Just because you happened to receive less spam this month than you did last month, and at the same time, hurricanes happen to be slamming Florida, does not necessarily mean hurricanes are slowing spammers down. Nor does it mean that all--or even most--spammers are located in Florida.

    Sometimes luck is just luck. There is such a thing as coincidence, in spite of what the religious nuts may try to tell you.
    • I'm getting so sick of bad logic leading to stupid conclusions about things. The two I most despise:

      Pot is the gateway drug because most people that use harder drugs have smoked pot too. By this very same logic we could say that really, oxygen is the gateway drug, since EVERYONE that uses harder drugs breaths oxygen. Maybe its some third thing causing both. But that doesn't work as well in propoganda.

      The other thing I hate is all these people saying SSRIs cause people to commit suicide. How stupid c
      • I'm particularly attuned since I'm taking a probability class this semester.

        There is a really excellent Web article [csicop.org] titled Coincidences: Remarkable or Random? that I came across.

        The thing that really caught my eye was where it shows mathematically that if you randomly select any twenty-three people from anywhere, there is a 50 percent probability that at least two of those people share the same birthdate. Nifty stuff.
    • Read Karl Popper. You can't mathematically prove causation, but you can mathematically calculate the degree of correlation.
  • Apparently, Nigeria wasn't hit by any tornadoes since I'm still receiving several Nigerian letter scams emails daily. Sometimes I wish I'd get some sort of other spam, but no -- it's always Nigerian letter scams.
  • There's much joking about God getting back at Florida for the elections four years ago. But you know what? Now I'm thinking it's more spammers.
  • Odd... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kannibal_klown ( 531544 ) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:13PM (#10270432)
    During Hurricane Frances, I was playing City of Heroes with a Super Group. One of our members lives down in Miami, and he was able to play through just about all of it.

    He was worried that he'd get disconnected at some point, but we played for like 6 hrs straight on a Task Force that day, and I saw him online a couple of times throughout the hurricane days.

    I guess he was lucky. I was surprised he was able to be online all of that time down there. We knew he was based in Miami since before the hurricanes, so it wasn't like he was trying to get attention.

    Personally, I'm glad to be living on the upper-East coast. Our weather is mild, we have no earthquakes, mudslides, or raging fires to worry about (though my state is in the top 5 for largest forest coverage).

    It would take A LOT for me to want to move down to Florida (though Spring Breaks are tempting).
    • Re:Odd... (Score:3, Funny)

      by Zorilla ( 791636 )
      Wow, some people really get addicted to this stuff, don't they?

      "Stupid hurricane....always taking me away from my Everquest time!"
    • Personally, I'm glad to be living on the upper-East coast

      you still have the remote possibility of being hit by a tsunami from the Canary Islands... [bbc.co.uk] :P
  • by cooley ( 261024 ) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:14PM (#10270447) Homepage
    I live in Indiana, but the company I develop for (and where they keep are mail server) is in Pensacola. There is apparently no power (or no server? who knows?) down there today, so I have received ZERO spams.
  • by ShatteredDream ( 636520 ) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:18PM (#10270508) Homepage
    God promised you that he would never flood your ass out to sea and drown you. He never promised that he wouldn't send a category 4 hurricane after those who steal others' bandwidth. Be warned cyber sinners the end is fucking nigh!!!
  • by trudyscousin ( 258684 ) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:18PM (#10270514)
    Hurricanes are living proof that God hates spammers and wants us to be happy.
  • The solution to spammers is simple, kill them. After enough of them go, the rest will soon be stirring in fear. Make spamming a capital offense. Then give all their earthly possessions to the good sysadmins of the world.
  • by Ionizer7 ( 814098 ) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:19PM (#10270527)
    That my penis was finally big enough... They do stop sending you penis enlargement emails once it is big enough right??
  • Insurance companies (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Writer ( 746272 ) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:22PM (#10270562)

    If insurance companies have noticed that the cost of their spam filtering in their IT department is affected by Florida, then they should divert the costs of the filtering to premium rises in Florida alone, rather than dumping it across the board. Maybe then something would be done about it, when Florida insurance holders would notice raised premiums when they deal with their insurance to cover hurricane damage. And maybe it would actually affect their voting.

    I would see this as no different from any of the other excuses that insurance companies use to raise premiums, like what kind of car you drive or the crime rate of where you live. Any company that has expenditures to cover spam filtering in their IT departments should charge florida a little extra.

    • then they should divert the costs of the filtering to premium rises in Florida alone, rather than dumping it across the board.

      Well, this would add an unrelated expense to insurance holder's premiums. Which would leave a gap for a competitor to offer a lower rate. The insurance company that raises rates to cover spam filtering would then find it has no Floridian customers but still has a spam problem.

      Just because there are a lot of spammers in Florida doesn't mean that an insurer is incurring additional

  • I'm thinking this means there will henceforth be a lucrative niche market in providing redundant mail servers to spam marketers.

  • Increase (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:36PM (#10270775)
    Date: Thu, 16 SEP 2004 15:44:20 -0800 (PST)
    From: ezeani madu
    To: ezeanimadu@yahoo.com

    From: Madu Nominees Carbez.
    1120 Louisiana Blvd

    Dear Sir,

    I do not mean to embarras you by this proposal, but to confide to you a very sensitive issue, of a very pathetic situation, and also to seek your utmost assistance for the issue I am about to explain to you.

    My name is Ezeani Madu Carbez, and I am the principle consultant of the above mentioned law firm here in Louisana-America.

    You see!, one of my clients, and ofcourse my most
    valued client by name Jonnez Hommer just called my presence to confide a very sensitive situation to me. My client happeneds to be the chief security officer {CSO} of clearing house 'Diamond Dispatch'.

    My client, Jonnez is presently being kept away from the clearing house by IVAN 15 inches of rain and surges of up to 16 feet, 150mph winds and IVAN.

    A first class information has revealed that there is a shipment of diamonds washed away in a armoured car into the nearby lake before It could be deposited with the clearing house here in in Louisana-America before it was washed awaty.

    According to him, the shipment contains the DIAMOND sum of US$35,000,000 [Thirty Five Million Dollars American] which the clearning house does not know about yet, as the content was declared as family jewelries and security documents.

    My client needs finanical assistence in the recovery of the 35,000,000 [Thirty Five Million Dollars American], please send me details of your bank account for funds to be collected and for the 35,000,000 [Forty Five Million Dollars American] to be deposited through the assistencies to disperse the money from teh sales of the DIAMONDS.

    My client has also resolved to reward you hansomely with 5% of the total amount on the sucessful conclussion of the DIAMOND recovery.
    I shall also be 100% available to provide you with all the necessary assistance and guidelines you may require on the course of this assistence.

    I have just entrusted the details of this shipment and the fate of this helpless diamonds into your conscience for safe keeping. I also hope to have offerred you a great opportunity to make yourself some good money, I believe I have.
    Should the above opertaion appeal to you therefore,I hereby urge you to mail me your response immediately for further details and immediate commencement of this receovery.
    You will also be doing us a lot of good to guide
    this information with immense confidentiality, should this receovery not appeal to you.

    Hoping to hear from you soon on this issue.
    Ezeani Madu Cardez. {ESQ}
  • by Chatmag ( 646500 ) <editor@chatmag.com> on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:37PM (#10270782) Homepage Journal
    The one quote from the Business Week regarding the wrath of God smiting Florida came from a post on NANAE, where the poster was blasted with one negative comment after another.

    To take the position that God should somehow clear Florida by sending hurricanes is absurd. Literally millions of people with no connections to spam were affected.

    Four people died in Blountstown, an 8 year old girl in Milton, and several others in Panama City Beach, and so far, no connection between the deceased and spamming.

    If Mr. Helm wanted to write a piece regarding spam and Florida, he should of posted all the comments flaming the moron that had written the original post.
  • Here in Florida the people are a bit paralyzed in fear right now... Every two or three weeks, there is a new storm headed our way. One of the biggest changes to weather reporting recently is "doppler indicated tornado cell activity", as the meteorologists call it. Basically they find pockets of cyclonic air on their doppler radar, and they issue a full blown tornado warning for it, whether it really is a tornado or not. It gets a little grating on the nerves to have 5-10 tornado warnings per day when a
  • by kramer ( 19951 ) on Thursday September 16, 2004 @04:50PM (#10270973) Homepage
    I must agree. I barely saw any SPAM last week. However, I think that may have to do with my losing power for 128 straight hours.
  • Finally a solution to SPAM:

    More hurricanes!
  • The amount of garbage I've seen in email, snail mail, and cable TV has started to turn a mental red flag on: Beware of anything that comes from a Florida address.

    It's not just spam. I've seen bogus sweepstakes from Clearwater, but most importantly, a vast majority of those "minimum investment required" "business opportunities" (the usual fodder of late-night cable TV ads) all come from south Florida...note all the addresses of the defendants in this comprehensive list [crimes-of-persuasion.com].

    The state, to me, seems to produce
  • I trust these stats better.

  • What's going on here? Is this some kind of nexus for comments from alternate universes? I have no idea what the hell half the people here are talking about. It certainly ain't hurricanes!
  • Date, RBL rejects:
    Sep 6 19190
    Sep 7 19202
    Sep 8 20092
    Sep 9 23417
    Sep 10 23229
    Sep 11 17529
    Sep 12 19330
    Sep 13 27464
    Sep 14 24520
    Sep 15 20670

    Hey spam decreased on Sept 11 - that's surely evidence that the spammers were taking a moment of pause to honor our nation's "sacrifice".
  • Less and less spam is getting through my filters. I'm not getting the really clever messages that slip through as much.

  • by AssFace ( 118098 )
    I wrote about this over on my spam blog today [spamblogging.com].

    While this is a reasonable idea on the surface, the reality is that spammers aren't necessarily spamming from their own computers. So if they aren't spamming from them, it doesn't matter if their power is out due to a hurricane.

    Florida houses the people that are responsible for the most spam, but that is a legal thing (especially Boca Raton which has the most favorable bankruptcy laws for spammers - they get to keep physical assets such as their Porsches) - it
  • ... then again, I don't get spam, so it's impossible to decrease the amount of what I DO get.
  • "Hurricane (insert name) pounds Florida"

    "New Microsoft patch to fix security flaw"
  • I'm a network admin for a small ISP in NW Ohio, and as a general rule, we outright block between 45k, and 52k letters a day, just from real time blacklists. The past week has shown us blocking over 60k a day, which almost never happens, but its been consistently high for a week now. So, I have to disagree, spam levels have not dropped off because of Ivan, or any of his less bolshevik friends.

Kill Ugly Processor Architectures - Karl Lehenbauer