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Doug's Mailbag: Spam Surging?, More

Microsoft recently helped shut down the Waledac botnet, but Doug still wonders if spam has been getting worse:

In the days since I first read the report of the MS crackdown on spammers, I have suddenly been flooded with spam across most of my e-mail accounts. Most appear to be originating from Russia, after a cursory look at the IP addresses and domains involved.

I haven't see this massive a thrust in months. It is almost as if whoever was shut down decided to prove that it meant nothing.

I think spam has gotten much worse over the past few months. When the government shut down the two spam host sites a couple of years ago, my spam dropped to nearly nothing. Now SPAMfighter is catching 20 to 25 messages a day, with the biggest increases over the past two or three months.

Doug recently asked readers whether they've taken Google Apps -- or some other Web-based productivity offering -- out for a spin:

I've wondered why Google Apps gets so much attention when there are other cloud-based apps that offer more than Google Apps and will even integrate with Google Apps.

For instance, Zoho rocks. I've used both and, to me, there is no comparison. Not only do you get the standard apps like word processing and spreadsheets, you can have invoicing, CRM, project management, HR, remote support and more.

I set up my family's domain and cub scout's domain to include e-mail, Jabber type IM and Web sites. Very pleased. Besides domain name registrar fees, it's all free.

Finally, one reader wants to clarify Doug's explanation for the recent spate of blue screens on XP systems with a specific Microsoft patch installed (which Microsoft has since reissued). Doug originally wrote that "there's a rootkit that attacks the patch itself and causes these freezes."

Not really. The rootkit modified kernel code in specific locations. Those locations contain different code when the patch is installed, causing the modified code to fail.

Microsoft can't really fix the problem, unless they can prevent rootkits from modifying the kernel. The patch has been reinstated, and the rootkit developer has issued a correction. Talk about strange circumstances!

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Posted by Doug Barney on 03/04/2010 at 1:17 PM


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