"Island-Hopping": The Latest Spammer Trend

The castaways from 'Gilligan's Island'.
Are you a “Ginger” spammer or a “Maryanne”?

“Island hopping” is the name of the current trend in spamming.
Now that anti-spam filters and blacklists are wise to the spam domains
in the typical .com, .biz and .info namespaces, they're switching to
domains of small island nations such as Sao Tome and Principe (.st) and Tokelau (.tk) to bypass them.

The malware reasearches at McAfee first caught onto this trick after
noticing an unusual number of .st domain name registrations. This
raised a red flag for them, and further research showed a migration of
spammers to domains for small island nations, particularly:

Domain Island Area
(sq. km)
.tk Tokelau 10 1,392
.cc Cocos (Keeling) Islands 14 628
.tv Tuvalu 26 11,810
.as American Samoa 199 57,794
.im Isle of Man 572 75,550
.to Tonga 748 114,689
.st Sao Tome and Principe 1,001 193,413

Spam from these domains has been increasing — here's what an article in EFYTimes has to say:

“This new trend is another example of spammers' relentless
quest to spread their abuse of Internet domains far and wide,” said Guy
Roberts, senior development manager, McAfee anti-spam R&D team.
“Some of these islands have dozens of spammed domains per square mile.”

(Cross-posted to the Tucows Blog.)


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