A U.S. based Web hosting firm that security experts say was responsible for
facilitating more than 75 percent of the junk e-mail blasted out each day
globally has been knocked offline following reports from Security Fix
on evidence gathered about suspicious activity emanating from the network.
For the past four months, Security Fix has been gathering data from the security
industry about McColo Corp., a San Jose, Calif., based Web
hosting service whose client list experts say includes some of the most
disreputable cyber-criminal gangs in business today.
On Monday, Security Fix contacted the Internet providers that manage more than
90 percent of the company's connection to the larger Internet, sending them
information about badness at McColo as documented by the security industry.
On Tuesday afternoon, I heard back from Global Crossing, one of
McColo's major Internet providers. Their spokesman declined to discuss the
matter, except to say that Global Crossing communicates and cooperates fully
with law enforcement, their peers, and security researchers to address
Two hours later, I heard from Benny Ng, director of marketing
for Hurricane Electric, the Fremont, Calif., company that was
the other major Internet provider for McColo.
Hurricane Electric took a much stronger public stance: "We shut them down," Ng
"We looked into it a bit, saw the size and scope of the problem you were
reporting and said 'Holy cow! Within the hour we had terminated all of our
connections to them."
As of this writing, McColo's Web site is no
longer available. In fact, I pinged no fewer than three different researchers
who have tracked activity at McColo for many months: None could find a single
Internet address assigned to the hosting provider that was still reachable.
The badness attributed to McColo was not limited to spam. It included child
pornography sites; sites that accepted payment for spam and child porn; rogue
anti-virus Web sites; and a huge malicious software operation that apparently
stole banking and credit card data from more than a half million people
Officials from McColo did not respond to multiple e-mails, phone calls and
instant messages left at the contact points listed on the company's Web site
before the site was taken offline.
There's more to come with details about this story later tonight or early
tomorrow, but I wanted to get this post published before we got scooped on our
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