News Stories

Thank China for Spam

We get many low cost imports from China, and one of these is computer spam. When internet researchers tracked spam messages, they found that 71% of them come from China.

Gideon Mantel, who tracks e-mail traffic, says most of those messages telling you how to increase your penis size or get a discount mortgage are linked to websites based in China. "We're talking now about 350,000 to 400,000 unique spam attacks a day," he says. "Since Jan. 1, we've seen probably a 30% to 40% increase" in spam traffic. Each "unique spam attack" goes to at least 50,000 recipients. "The numbers are amazing," says Mantel. "When we saw them, I was so shocked, we checked and rechecked the numbers three times."

It's not hard to identify an IP address as Chinese, since they all have about 10 digits and the first two or three identify the country. While the Chinese internet is heavily censored, it's inexpensive to host a website there.

This doesn't mean that the spammers themselves are Chinese, only that they're using Chinese websites. Mantel says, "Maybe the host computer in China is sending [user traffic] to Korea, or somewhere else, to confuse law enforcement."

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