How Spammers Use Colocation Facilities to Get To You

Written by: Francesco Trama | Published on: April 20th, 2016

About The Author

Francesco Trama
As Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Francesco is responsible for the overall operating performance, leading the strategic direction of the company’s products and solutions internally while building technical and business credibility externally as a market-facing thought leader.

35338841_s.jpgColocation facilities can be a controversial subject. They provide reliable hosting for companies that can’t afford or don’t want to invest in their own server, but spammers can also use them to get around the traditional Advanced-IP filters that protect companies and individuals from spam. As a network security administrator, you need to understand how spammers abuse colocation facilities so you can learn how to combat them.


What is a Colocation Facility?

A colocation facility is a data center that rents server space to businesses. Many colocation companies have facilities in many different countries, which is a fact that spammers can exploit. When spam recipients block the spammer’s IP address, the spammer can simply move their services to another location within the same colocation provider. This allows them to quickly and easily get around the filters that many people use to block spam.

Do Colocation Facilities Try to Tackle Spammers?

Some colocation facilities take steps to prevent spammers using their services, but others don’t question the actions of their customers nearly as much as they should. If a customer wants to move their virtual private server (VPS) from one country to another, there is usually a fee to pay, but this fee can be very low in comparison to the potential revenue for the spammer. Colocation facilities should ask questions when customers repeatedly ask to move their VPS from one country to another, but unfortunately, too many don’t.

How to Combat Colocation Spammers

Blocking spam should be easy. When you receive a spam message from a particular IP address, you can blacklist that IP address in your spam filter to block any mail that originates from it in the future. However, when a spammer is moving their VPS around inside a colocation hosting provider that has a few dozen locations around the world and hundreds of thousands of IP addresses, the fight against spam becomes a little more complicated. In this case, what you need is a Next-Gen Advanced-Location filter that offers company level filtering. Next-Gen Advanced-IP filters can block all the IP addresses associated with a particular colocation facility provider. No matter how many times the spammer moves their VPS around inside the colocation provider’s facilities, their messages still won’t be able to reach you. The only way the spammer can reach you is to switch to a different provider, which is much more hassle than simply changing the location of their VPS within a single colocation provider.

Forcing Colocation Facilities to Take Responsibility

Using a Next-Gen Advanced-Location filterthat blocks an entire colocation provider is an extremely convenient way to free yourself from persistent spammers. It also forces colocation facilities to face their responsibilities in combating spam. Colocation facilities need to start asking new customers questions about their businesses, as well as investigating suspicious behaviors such as changing VPS locations multiple times. If businesses around the world begin using next-generation Advancedlocation filters to block colocation facilities that harbor spammers, they will soon be forced to take action to protect their reputations and keep their genuine customers happy.

Have you struggled with spammers who get a new IP address every time you block their old one? What did you do about it? Share your experience in the comment section below.