Menu
Google comes in third on top 10 list of spam enablers

Google comes in third on top 10 list of spam enablers

sistemnet.com.tr, hostfresh.com and google.com take top three positions in ‘The 10 Worst Spam Service ISPs’.

Google has yet to stop a rising number of spammers from abusing Google Docs, its Web-based collaboration and spreadsheet application, according to junk mail watchdog Spamhaus.

On Tuesday, Google moved from fourth to third on a list of spammy ISPs (Internet service providers) and other Web services providers updated daily by Spamhaus. Google has been in the top 10 list over the last several weeks, said Richard Cox, Spamhaus' CIO.

Like peers Microsoft and Yahoo, Google's free e-mail accounts are frequently used to send spam. Antispam filtering software is unlikely to block messages coming from the domains of those companies due to their wide use, although spam can be stopped through more sophisticated analysis of an e-mail.

But a greater problem is how spammers are manipulating Google Docs, Cox said. The application has a feature where users can share a document that is assigned a URL (uniform resource locator). If opened, those documents contain a "redirect" command that pushes them to spammer Web sites, which often sell pharmaceuticals, Cox said.

Spamhaus has had trouble getting top-level attention from Google about the problem, Cox said. That's in contrast to Microsoft, which took steps recently to stop spammers from putting redirects on free Web pages and sending out the links as spam.

A top Microsoft executive finally took note of the problem after being alerted by Spamhaus, Cox said. Microsoft hasn't detailed how it is stopping the nuisance, but their method appears to be working, Cox said. Spamhaus has had less luck so far with Google, he said.

When contacted, Google did acknowledge the problem.

"Spam is an issue for all Internet users, and we actively work to disable accounts that are found to be in violation of our product policies," Google said in a statement. "We're aware of this Google Docs spam issue, and we've already begun implementing improvements to minimize the impact of the issue."

There are a couple of fixes. One would be to simply halt the use of redirects, Cox said.

"We don't see why when Google and Microsoft hand out free Web pages to people they should then allow those people to put a redirect to another site," Cox said. "The only people using redirects are the spammers."

Another method would be to check the URL to which a redirector points. If it is listed on Spamhaus' Block List (SBL) of verified spam operations, the message could be blocked, Cox said.

Services such as Tiny URL, which make long URLs shorter, block those URLs that redirect to sites on the SBL and thus don't have the problem, Cox said.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags spamSpamhaus

Featured

Slideshows

Ingram Micro maintains Showcase 2018 momentum in Wellington

Ingram Micro maintains Showcase 2018 momentum in Wellington

Ingram Micro maintained Showcase 2018 momentum in Wellington, hosting more than 40 vendors at TSB Arena. Under the banner of Leading the Way, the event demonstrated what’s new, what’s next and how it can be used to improve business and everyday life.

Ingram Micro maintains Showcase 2018 momentum in Wellington
Ingram Micro launches Showcase 2018 in Christchurch

Ingram Micro launches Showcase 2018 in Christchurch

Ingram Micro kickstarted Showcase 2018 in Christchurch, hosting more than 40 vendors at Horncastle Arena. Under the banner of Leading the Way, the event demonstrated what’s new, what’s next and how it can be used to improve business and everyday life.

Ingram Micro launches Showcase 2018 in Christchurch
Data breach notification laws in NZ: How can partners prepare?

Data breach notification laws in NZ: How can partners prepare?

This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable outlined the responsibilities facing security partners today, assessing risk while evaluating the role of the vendor in providing added layers of protection.

Data breach notification laws in NZ: How can partners prepare?
Show Comments