How To: Help Stop Internet Spam
Internet spam is one of the hardest forms of malicious content to stop from being pushed upon users. Spam comes in various formats. The most prevalent of which is E-Mail spam which accounts for 200 billion messages a day. It also is posted on communities such as message boards and within the comment sections of blogs. Spam is primarily used as a source of revenue for those that engage in the action of producing it. Profit is produced by creating false claims that lead an end user to buy something that does not actually do as it should. It also may lead to the installation of viruses on a victim’s computer in order to steal the identity of that individual or use them within a botnet.
In a previous post it was discussed how spam protection needs to be enhanced. It is impossible to stop all forms of spam completely, but there are large communities and tools dedicated to finding it and fighting against its distribution. The following list contains many solutions for developers seeking to provide a new layer of protection within their applications or websites to protect against spam. It is best to take the list and determine what is the best solution for your purpose because it may not apply to all.
- Phishtank – Phishktank is a service operated by OpenDNS in an effort to cut down on Phishing attacks targeted at stealing the identity of Internet users. Phishtank provides a downloadable copy of their database for developers to check links against.
- Stop Forum Spam – Stop Forum Spam is an open database of rouge bots that target message boards. The list itself can be used to determine if an IP Address is known for posting spam content. It does not have to be restricted to forums as many of the entries can post spam on other types of communities.
- Web of Trust – Web of Trust (WOT) is a popular solution to determine if a website is child friendly. WOT is openly maintained by a community and is most of the time a reliable source, but it should be used with caution as to avoid false positives based on user bias.
- SURBL – SURBL is a database of IP addresses of websites that are posted within spam messages. The list does not track the IP address of the bots that produce these E-Mails. Instead it stores the IP address of the websites that these messages contain.
There are literally hundreds of other lists on the Internet to help fight spam. If you are a webmaster or application developer and want to try and fight spam content, then using the above solutions and looking into others will help cut down on spam dramatically. It is also recommended for websites that create custom spam fighting technology to protect themselves to share it instead. Spam itself is always evolving and taking new forms to beat the system, but with a greater rate of awareness and adoption of protective blacklists we can help curve the impact of it.