I have to admit, I’m fascinated by the sheer amount of spam comments this site gets. Fortunately, thanks to the site’s settings, none of it actually makes it through to the page you see. But where does it come from? Cursory glances at the moderation list seem to show it coming from the same dozen or so IP addresses. Chances are they’re the exact same IP addresses spamming every other website comment board with links to buy knockoff Louis Vuitton handbags and visit various online dating sites, trying to increase the amount of links to their sites in order to artifically increaing their search engine page ranking. To find out for myself, I decided to go a week without clearing out the spam box and take down every IP number from every message that filtered in. The results? Rather surprising – that is, at first glance.
While one might expect plenty of spam from Chinese IPs, the fact that Montreal wound up being the highest-ranked place of origin, or that so many random US cities and towns (including tiny Stockholm, South Dakota, population 108) showed up in the results comes as an intial shock, until you realise that most spammers hide behind proxies disguising their true location. Hence why a spam message from an IP address in Quebec or France or Sweden often comes out in Chinese or Korean. According to Cisco Systems, the true numbers in 2011 were like this:
Geneva-based non-profit group The Spamhaus Project (whose database of known companies involved in widespread spamming can be found here) keeps a realtime database of IPs used for spam. As of 8 November 2013, their top ten looks as follows:
Cisco Systems (2011). Cisco 2011 Annual Security Report. San Jose: Cisco Systems. Available at http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/vpndevc/security_annual_report_2011.pdf. Accessed 7 November 2013.
Spamhaus Project Ltd., The (2013). The Spamhaus Project. Available at http://www.spamhaus.org/. Accessed 8 November 2013.