Security giant McAfee warned today that spammers are increasingly exploiting online hosting companies that provide free domains and web hosting, in order to bypass anti-spam filters.
In the vendor's December 2009 Spam Report (PDF), McAfee Labs anti-spam technology lead Adam Wosotowsky and director of product marketing Elan Winkler argued that the trend has turned into "an all-out gold rush".
"Using a free hosting service is a good tactic for spammers because it is easier to automatically block a new infected web site than to block a site that has been around for a longer period and has possibly had legitimate traffic associated with it," the report explained.
"This edge can provide spammers with a few precious additional hours before the spam-blocking services of the world can blacklist that host. In the course of a few hours a botnet can generate billions of messages."
The report names and shames 0Catch.com as the hosting site most heavily abused by spammers, although it falls short of suggesting active collusion between the free hosting sites and the spammers that use them.
"This should be a lesson to legitimate businesses looking for free hosting," the report continued.
"You get what you pay for, and using free hosting sites that entertain spammers is likely to affect the perceived legitimacy of any honest client of one of these hosting sites."