Spamhaus readies new antimalware data feeds

The data feeds will make Spamhaus' Domain Block List more effective and versatile, the organization said

The Spamhaus Project will soon publish two new data feeds intended to prevent people from being lured to malware-infected websites and domains.

The organization, which has long been in the forefront of efforts to stop junk mail, said the two data sets are part of its Domain Block List (DBL), a database updated constantly with spammy domains appearing in emails. The DBL data feed can be incorporated into mail server software that scans messages for the presence of those blacklisted domains.

The new data sets will make the DBL more effective and versatile while allowing for a near-zero false positive rate, Spamhaus wrote on its blog on Sunday.

The first data set focuses on domain names that have been identified as distributing malware or command-and-control software for botnets, Spamhaus wrote. It is similar to Spamhaus' Botnet Controller List, but instead focusing on domain names rather than IP addresses.

"Users contacting these domains may either get infected or may already be infected with malicious software," Spamhaus wrote. "By deploying this subset of the DBL it is possible to prevent users from becoming infected or to find users that are already infected."

The second data set consists of legitimate domains that are hosting websites which have been compromised. Spamhaus wrote that websites using outdated versions of content management system software, such as Joomla or WordPress, are often targeted.

Spammers place files on those Web pages that will redirect users to other sites, and those URLs are then used in the spam messages. Since the domains often have a good reputation, security software may not stop people from browsing to the sites, which spammers exploit "to improve the delivery of their spam and prolong the lifespan of the spam's payload and landing sites," Spamhaus wrote.

The new data feeds have new "return codes," which are so-called loopback IP addresses, which indicate why a certain resource is being blocked. Spamhaus said administrators should make sure their software handles the return codes correctly.

The new return codes will being appearing in its data feeds starting July 1, Spamhaus wrote.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

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