Dutch ISP Picks Fight with Spamhaus

eWeek reports that Dutch internet service provider A2B has filed two police complaints against anti-spam blacklist Spamhaus for refusing to terminate a provider Spamhaus alleges is known for "hosting malware, phishing and websites selling fraudulent goods advertised via spam."

I didn't know much about the story at first, other than noticing A2B principal Erik Bais on Twitter and thinking to myself, wow, that guy is really mad about this.

Today, we have Spamhaus's side of the story, as published on their own website. Seems pretty straightforward to me; I've dealt with Spamhaus enough times to know that if you don't terminate the bad guys after Spamhaus notifies you, there's a potential that they will escalate the listing in question. Like it or not, Spamhaus regularly lists ISPs and providers it feels to be "spam supporting" through their connection to a given spammer. It feels like Erik Bais is perhaps new to this particular kind of rodeo.

In their published statement, Spamhaus explains that the alleged bad guy in question is "CB3ROB A/K/A "CyberBunker" [and] has a long history of run-ins with the law. It was also a host of the infamous 'Russian Business Network' cyber-crime gang broken up by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies."

A2B alleges that the Spamhaus action amounts to a denial-of-service attack. I'm not sure how; there's a pretty commonly understood technical definition of what constitutes as DOS attack and a Spamhaus listing doesn't seem to fit that definition.

Is A2B likely to see any action taken as a result of the complaint? My guess is, "probably not," especially considering the following bit at the end of the Spamhaus statement: "With no irony lost, this week senior staff from Spamhaus and the Dutch high-tech crime-unit tasked to investigate the very criminal activity CB3ROB hosts and A2B Internet routed, were meeting together at an anti-cybercrime conference. CB3ROB, A2B Internet and the phishing, malware and counterfeit goods outfits both were tacitly servicing were discussed and Spamhaus handed its files on CB3ROB and A2B Internet to the Dutch NHTCU's investigator."


  1. From a trusted but needs to stay anonymous source in Holland: A2B Internet BV initially tried to make their complaint to the Dutch HTCU (High Tech Crime Unit) but the HTCU guys sent them away, saying A2B's complaint was 'tripe' and "nothing HTCU would look into".

    HTCU told A2B Eric Bais that if he really wanted to file such a banal complaint he should try his local police instead. That is why A2B ended up filing the complaint at a simple local area police station, instead of with the Dutch HTCU. He might as well have filed it in the shredder and saved himself the time.


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